Lower Back Pain in Truck Drivers - Causes & Solutions
Upper and lower back pain are two of the most common complaints among truck driving professionals. Truckers can spend up to 8-9 hours a day driving their trucks. That much time spent in one position is not good for any part of the body, but especially not for the back. Lack of movement and poor posture can cause drivers’ lower back muscles to become stiff and even painful. While lower back pain is common among truckers, there are a number of simple solutions that can help prevent or improve the pain. Keep reading to learn more about common causes and solutions of lower back pain in truck drivers.
Lower Back Pain Causes
Lower back pain in truckers is most commonly caused by poor posture and lack of regular exercise.
Lack of Exercise
Not only is regular exercise good for your health, but it is also good for your lower back strength. When you do not move your body enough, the discs in your spine are not able to transfer fluid to each other. This spinal fluid contains key nutrients to keep your back and spine healthy and strong. Lack of regular movement and exercise can also lead to compression of your joints, which is a common cause of back pain in truck drivers as muscles become tight, which makes you more prone to pain or injury.
One of the biggest issues in trucks and cars is that the seats are not built to maintain proper posture. Truck seats are constructed without sufficient lower back support. Without appropriate lumbar support, it can be easy to slump into poor posture, especially when you are sitting in one position for hours on end. While you may be tempted to sit in whatever position feels most comfortable for those long hauls at the time, it can do more harm than good on your back in the long run.
Lack of Support While Sleeping
An often-overlooked cause of lower back pain is not getting enough support from your mattress while sleeping. We sleep for an average of seven to nine hours a night, which accounts for a third of our day. If we are spending a third of each day not supporting our spine it can lead to a lot of pain throughout our back, including our lower back. Most semi trucks come stocked with a mattress that is not very supportive. Upgrading to an after-stock truck mattress can be a quick and easy way to make sure your back is supported. SleepDog® mattresses are a great option to give you that extra support and comfort while on the road, since they are designed specifically with trucking and traveling in mind.
Lower Back Pain Solutions
The muscles in your back, just like any other muscles in your body, will become tight if they are not used or stretched with frequency. It is important to take the time to stretch during long drives. Below are two quick and easy lower back stretches:
- Back Extensions: Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your lower back with your elbows sticking out. Slowly lean back, hold that stretch for a few seconds and then return to your upright position. Repeat as necessary.
- Knees to Chest: Stand on the ground and place one foot at a 90 degree angle using the outside step of your truck. Lean forward onto that knee. You should feel a hamstring and lower back stretch in the leg that is grounded. Hold this stretch for about 10 seconds, then switch feet and repeat.
As we have already mentioned, the spine needs to move regularly in order to function properly. Regular exercise allows the discs in your spine to transfer nutrients to each other, which keeps your spine healthy and strong. Having a strong spine is key to preventing back pain. Regular exercise can also improve your overall tone, posture, and circulation, which should help alleviate back pain while driving.
Use Back Support
Doing something as simple as placing a pillow or blanket between your lower back and the truck seat will help support the natural curve of your spine and should help alleviate lower back pain.
Correct Your Posture
Driving with proper posture and with your wheel in the correct position can help prevent and improve lower back pain. During long hauls, it is important to keep your shoulders back and your seat and wheel adjusted to the correct heights for your body. Always double check that your headrests and mirrors are positioned correctly, as well. Ensuring that everything is positioned appropriately will avoid unnecessary straining while driving and will allow more substantial support for your spine and lower back.
Sleep On A High Quality Mattress
The mattresses that come standard in most over-the-road sleeper cabs usually lack support and comfort. Having a good quality mattress that contours to your body and provides pressure relief is key to preventing aches and pains, especially in the back. If you are looking for support to alleviate or stop lower back pain before it begins, check out our SleepDog® or BigDawg Mattress™. All SleepDog® mattresses come with plush multilayer memory foam constructions to support your spine while you sleep, are DOT approved, and 100% made in America.
Clearly, back discomfort and pain are not reserved for those who work on their feet all day. Truckers, who spend their entire workday sitting in one position, commonly suffer from lower back pain. Fortunately, simple solutions such as regular exercise, driving with proper back support and posture, and most importantly, sleeping on a truck mattress that supports your head, neck and back, can help relieve back pain by strengthening and supporting your muscles, joints and ligaments to make life on the road more comfortable day in and day out.