Stress Management: HowTo Do Deep Abdominal Breathing

Stress Management: How to Do Deep Abdominal Breathing

Breathing is one of those things we all do, yet we rarely think about it; when a system like the respiratory works without us having to think about it or make it happen, it’s called “involuntary.” The respiratory system has the unique ability to work all on its own without our help, unlike the muscular system, which works voluntarily.

When we breathe, we get this precious gift called life. We can survive 21 days without food, seven days without water but can only go one to three minutes without oxygen. And at the 60-second mark, brain cells are already dying. Yet after 20 years of teaching yoga (Mother Trucker Yoga’s Membership) to others, there is one thing I have come to find, many do not like to breathe. I would often notice few would appreciate the art of breathing practices (pranayama) in yoga. You could see people start to fidget, become distracted, and even get annoyed at the idea that they weren’t “doing anything” during their yoga class. Yet without the ability to breathe, nothing on the yoga mat would even be possible. 

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Breathing is a tool. Those that learn to harness the device and tap into its vast abilities to improve, help and even heal the body get to reap the benefits of increased vitality, health, and happiness. But time and time again, I have observed others choose pills, alcohol, and even violence to manage what we all call stress or our emotions rather than tap into this tool we are all born with and have access to us at any given time. 

Stress can alter just about any system in the body if we allow it to. 

Stress management sign mother trucker yoga blog

Stress can:

  • Raise our blood pressure
  • Increase our heart rate
  • Increase our body temperature
  • Leave us in physical pain
  • Can decrease our immune system
  • Give us stomach discomfort
  • Make it difficult to sleep
  • Can affect your libido 
  • Tense your muscles 
  • Cause weight gain 
  • Burden your nervous system
  • Leave shallow breathing

When is the last time you felt the effects of any of the above and thought you should practice deep breathing? 

When my oldest son was small, and he’d get stressed out, the first thing I would have him do is deep breathing. Three deep breaths, I’d say, and we’d do them together. He’s now nearly a teenager, and I have observed him repeatedly defaulting to deep breathing when he is stressed, angry, frustrated, or can’t sleep. He automatically uses this incredible tool we all walk around with every day but rarely tap use voluntarily. 

The average American breathes with less than 18% of their lung capacity. That’s what I like to call clavicle breathing. It’s no wonder we are a stressed-out, upset, unhealthy out of touch society. I say these are the very things I have felt before yoga and learning how to tap into my breathing. And the same things I think when I’m not in my body, using my breathing, and feeling grounded in my skin. 

How do we breathe?

The average person takes about ten breaths per minute; that’s an average of 22,000-24,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing. And when we breathe, we inhale necessary oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and toxins that our body wants to remove. When we breathe, our lungs expand and take in air, and our diaphragm lowers and expands as well, taking in oxygen to then be distributed out to the millions of cells throughout our body that need that fresh oxygen to live. 

Dr. James Hoyt, a pulmonologist, says, “Our respiratory muscles don’t have the luxury of being out of shape.” Yet how many people can say with certainty that they use them, work them, build them like their bicep regularly? There is a saying, “use it or lose it,” and it fits here with our breathing. 

 A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

And, also nearly every system in the body is connected to our respiratory system or breathing. 

  • Our metabolism increases when we practice deep breathing.
  • Our autonomic nervous system regulates when we deep breathe.
  • Our digestion can settle and improve when deep breathing.
  • Our muscles relax and get total oxygen, helping them not to cramp.
  • Our lymphatic systems become stimulated, hand and hand, with our immune system, both stimulated when we breathe.
  • Our body is fully oxygenated when we deep breathe.

And one of our deep breathing’s most impressive features is that it stimulates our vegas nerve. 

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen through multiple organs, including the heart, esophagus, and lungs. It controls the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which contains your relaxation response. Most people never breathe deep enough to stimulate this impressive nerve. We need the vagus nerve to be alive and working because the vagus nerve controls your mood, heart rate, digestion, and immune response. Stimulating your vagus nerve can help to regulate many functions in your body.

Vagus nerve stimulation has been linked to treating epilepsy, improving digestive conditions, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety disorders. The journal Frontiers in Neuroscience reported in 2018 that the poor function of the vagus nerve could lead to mood and anxiety disorders. But most importantly, when you stimulate the vagus nerve, you can reduce anxiety, stress, and mood disorders. All of this can happen when you learn to breathe more deeply and more often. 

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! BREATHING IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where does your breathing fall?

Clavicle Breathers: Those that breathe only into the upper chest, throat, and shoulders. These breathers often have lifted shoulders and a tense neck. 

Chest Breathers: Those that breathe into the center of the chest. 

Abdominal Breathers: Those that breathe deep into the belly and feel their lungs and abdomen expand freely. 

We have forgotten our unique ability to help and heal ourselves. When you were a baby, no one had to tell you how to breathe, yet there you were, breathing so deeply that your entire torso was expanding and contracting every breath you took. I have listened and watched my children as infants, and now adolescents get upset and even cry only to default to their breathing to calm them down. It’s in you; you have done it; you have just forgotten how to do it. 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Technique:

  1. Sitting tall or lying down comfortably, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart/chest. 
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth and hear your breath move out of your body. 
  3. Inhale through your nose and move your breath deeply into your lower hand (belly) and feel it expand. Continue to move your breath up to notice your upper hand (chest) rise. 
  4. Exhale slowly move the air out, feeling your belly collapse and your chest lower (in any order). 
  5. Soften your jaw and relax your body, focus on fully emptying your belly when you exhale and fully expanding when you inhale. 
  6. Work yourself up towards a count of four counts on the inhale and eight on the exhale. 
  7. Repeat this for two to five minutes. 
  8. Anytime your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing. 
  9. Allow yourself to hear your breath each time you inhale and exhale. 

How to do deep abdominal breathing

Continue this practice daily in the morning to wake up, when you are feeling stressed, waiting in traffic (minus the hands-on your body), or before you go to sleep to help you relax. 

You have tools to help you breathe, relax, fall asleep. The real question is, are you using them? 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Benefits:

 Various deep abdominal breathing forms have been linked to cardiovascular benefits, including increased blood flow and improved blood pressure. Deep breathing is also a helpful tool for relaxation and sleep. Taking deep breaths can also help you manage stress and improve cognitive function like brain fog and lack of focus and concentration.

If every tool you are reaching for is outside of yourself, let me ask you, have you tried the tools you were born with? The tools you were given and are the very tools that make this life possible? The tool I am talking about is your breathing. 

Try This:

For one week, practice deep abdominal breathing at least one time a day. Work to practice it at the same time each day. Set the alarm on your phone or in your calendar and make it a priority. All too often, we say something doesn’t work or help, and we have never really tried it, let alone given it the attention required to see results. 

After seven days, come back and let us know how you did. What changed, what you noticed or found. 

Now take a deep breath and start living! 

Resources:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_focusing_on_the_breath_does_to_your_brain

https://www.uchealth.org/today/understanding-breathing-and-the-importance-of-taking-a-deep-breath/

https://www.healthline.com/health/facts-about-stress#25.-Past-experiences-can-cause-stress-later-in-life

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.n

https://www.consumerreports.org/mental-health/ways-to-manage-stress/ih.gov/29593576/

 

Tips to Get the Best Results From Your Yoga Session

Tips To Get The Best Results From Your Yoga Session

 

Yoga has been gaining popularity over the past decade because it provides a unique form of exercise and relaxation. Studies have also proven that it is a great workout that helps eliminate body aches and pains. The history of this workout style has also shown that yoga is more than exercise and can help you connect with your inner self. As studies have proved and practice has shown, yoga can be very beneficial; and you must gain all those benefits. On that note, here are some tips to help you get the best results from your yoga session.

Yoga Session Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Know your physical limitations and pay attention to your body

 

Yoga can get quite intense, and you need to know your physical limitations and pay attention to your body so that you do not push your body past its true limits. For those who have medical conditions, such that they may need to use a posture corrector app or other forms of assistance, you must be cautious when practicing yoga to avoid hurting yourself or aggravating an injury. You should be concerned about how your body reacts to each pose and session. Relax and allow your body to express itself and when it hurts, stop, and take a breather to change your pace.

 

Have no expectations

Yoga combines exercise with meditation; that is how it works. Having expectations before you begin will throw a spanner in the works, and you could lose your zen. So, it is better to have no expectations when you start a yoga session. Instead, look forward to spending time connecting with yourself. Have an open mind and enjoy the experience.

 

Create a relaxed atmosphere and avoid distractions

Yoga is centered on relaxation and meditation. So, create the right atmosphere where you can relax and connect with yourself. Yoga is therapeutic, and as such, where you practice must set the mood. It is advisable to dedicate a space solely to practicing yoga to evoke a sense of calm and relaxation. This area must be free of noise and other distractions so that your meditation can proceed uninterrupted. Distractions in this regard are not limited to noise alone. Uncomfortable clothes, taking a break to pee, and devices such as phones that do not contribute to the process all count as distractions. Before you begin a session, be sure you can complete it without getting distracted by anything else.

 

Breathe

Breathe - Yoga blog Mother Trucker Yoga

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This sounds very easy, but often people forget to breathe naturally, as they get so focused on the moment. This is simple and very important. Just continue to breathe naturally, and you will remain composed and balanced. Breathing also helps you to practice within your capacity and allows you to enjoy the experience.

 

To get the best results from your yoga session, do not just “go through the motions”; relax and enjoy the exercise rather than rushing through. Focus on the experience and dedicate your all when practicing. Also, before you begin or end a session, do not just jump in or out. Take some time to gradually get in the zone and do the same when you finish a session.

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis & What to Do About It

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What is Plantar Fasciitis & What to Do About It

 

I never had ANY issues with my feet until I was pregnant. Plantar Fasci.. Who? And it was right about that time that I began my journey of diving into the body. Not yoga poses. Not fancy exercises, but how the body moves and why it moves the way it does. How we are an adaptation of our environment over time and things don’t necessarily happen to us, they accumulate within us. 

 

To be honest, you don’t catch plantar fasciitis like you do an airborne virus. Your body moves or doesn’t move, it adapts to the environment you put it in and it responds. When your muscles scream, cramp, tighten, clench, sag, freeze they are responding. The question is, are you listening? 

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

 

But what IS plantar fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis means the inflammation in the muscular band around the sole, which supports the arch. It is the main reason for pain at the bottom of the heel. And that plantar tendon is then connected to your achilles tendon, which then connects in with your calf muscles, to your hamstrings to then your sacrotuberous ligament and so on (that was a mouth full). My point…everything is connected. Our bodies are not separate parts, we are not parts, we are whole. And when we are in pain, like foot pain, we cannot just look at the area screaming. We must step back and look at the entire canvas and how that canvas moves or doesn’t move. If someone was to be holding a gun pointed at another who would be screaming, the shooter or the victim? The victim is the bottom of your foot, the persecutor is the cause of it. 

 

In modern busy lives, one is always on his feet. Our heels are constantly under the pressure of our daily life hustles. This pressure ultimately damages or tears your foot ligaments resulting in pain and stiffness under the sole. And furthermore, the long bouts of sitting, tightening of the calves and hamstrings coupled with extreme fitness shortens and tightens those areas causing a pulling and aggravating pain. 

 

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

During the later months of pregnancy, women carry a lot of weight on their feet and are more at risk for Plantar Fasciitis.

 

Men and women between the age group of 40-70 years and majorly women among them are at higher risk for Plantar Fasciitis.

 

Obese individuals, due to high pressure on their heels and repetitive tensile overload from walking, standing, or squatting, are more prone to the inflammation of the muscle band around their heels.

 

Certain activities or exercises that include running, dancing on heels or ballet dancing, skating, aerobic dance, inadequate stretching, or walking long-distance without a proper pair of shoes, etc.

 

Pronation (walking in a way that your whole body weight tends to be on the inside of your foot) is one major cause of Plantar Fasciitis.

 

Long term sitting with minimal bouts of movement, stretching or activity. 

 

People with structural foot abnormality (Foot Mechanics) like flat feet, protruded, or extended heel bone or high arches usually suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. Weak plantar flexor muscles and intrinsic muscles of the foot are the bio-mechanic causes of Plantar Fasciitis.

Certain occupations that involve excessive use of feet or dynamic jobs like teachers, factory workers, police, labor, etc. are at higher risks.

Heel spurs were implicated as one of the causes of Plantar Fasciitis. It was later clarified that this is a very weak association and may not necessarily be a cause of Plantar Fasciitis.

 

Symptoms

 

Stabbing pain and tenderness in the heel is the typical symptom of Plantar Fasciitis.

The pain can be triggered by a long period of standing.

The pain generally kicks off after exercise as the pain flares up due to increased irritation or inflammation but doesn’t show any symptoms during exercise.

The nature of pain may vary from person to person. It can be dull or sharp, burning or ache in the heel.

The pain is commonly worse in the morning. You will feel a wave of pain the moment you take your first step out of bed. Climbing stairs would be the last thing you want to do as it aggravates the pain to a higher extent.

 

Management

 

Statistically, stretching is believed to give the best long-term results at home.

Calf and arch stretch

  1. Sit on the bed with straight legs.
  2. Take a folded towel (or a strap or belt)
  3. Hold the ends with both hands.
  4. Place the balls of your feet in the middle of the towel and pull back the towel/belt flexing the foot (place the towel over the ball of the foot).
  5. Hold this for 30 seconds with a rest interval of 30 seconds and repeat this 3 times. Or hold until tension passes.
Plantar Fasciitis - foot stretch mother trucker yoga blog

Seated Forward Bend with Strap to Stretch Arches, Calves, and Hamstrings

Downward Facing Dog

  1. Start down on all fours.
  2. Take a deep breath in and lift your knees.
  3. Without walking your hands back, press up through your arms and shoulders.
  4. Exhale and draw your belly in and lift your hips high.
  5. Let your heels sink towards the ground and “walk the dog” by alternating lifting and lowering each heel and bending the opposite knee. 
  6. If you are feeling tight, bend the knees (the goal is not to have straight legs, but to feel a stretch).
  7. NOTE: Try Half Downward Dog on the step of your truck. Does your truck step need an upgrade? In need of more grip? >Shop NOW<
Plantar Fasciitis Half downward dog mother trucker yoga blog

Half Down Dog on Truck Step

Plantar Fasciitis Downward Facing Dog Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Downward Facing Dog

Roll the arch on our Massage Roller Stick

  1. Keep a ball or our massage roller stick by your bedside.
  2. Roll your foot on the ball three times for 1 minute with 30 seconds of the rest interval.
  3. Do this exercise after waking up and before going to bed.
  4. NOTE: Your feet may feel tender due to wearing shoes too frequently and not stimulating the muscles in the feet often enough.

mother trucker yoga massage roller feet

Manual Stretch

Before taking your first step out of bed, stretch and massage your feet manually with the help of your fingers.

 

Treatment

  • NSAIDs
  • Stretching
  • Formal physical therapy
  • Night splints
  • Custom orthotics
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections
  • Botulinum toxin injections
  • Fasciotomy
  • Topical Pain Relief Cream – STIFF Mother Trucker

Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream in Hand

 

Thank you to BUD & TONY’S TRUCK PARTS for being the sponsor of this blog.

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5 Exercises for Sciatica Pain Relief

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Several years ago I had sciatica for nearly a year straight. I was seeking sciatica pain relief in the worst way.

It hurt to bend, it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to sleep, it hurt to do just about everything. I thought to myself “is this how the rest of my life is going to be?” The worst thing was – I was a yoga teacher. Having never had any real physical injuries I began to seek relief and care. During my first visit to a chiropractor, we discovered that my pelvis was not level and probably for quite some time. Trying to put things back into place made for a very angry body.

Sciatica Relief Hope Zvara and Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

As someone early into teaching yoga I vowed to help others dissolve pain because no one should have to live with pain like this on a daily basis. Through improving my posture, building stability in my frame as well as building muscle and staying mobile slowly my sciatica disappeared. But over the years it tries to rear its annoying head and with my toolbox in place, I know exactly what to do to dissolve the symptoms and find relief once again.

If you have ever had it, you know it. That pain that can knock you off your feet. That pain can derail you dead in your tracks. That nerve pain that can be so excruciating that you are flat on the floor praying it will pass.

WHAT IS SCIATICA:

I think it is important to first describe what sciatica is and what it is not. Sciatica is a pain and nerve sensation that can travel through the glute down the leg, past the knee into the calf. Sciatica has a number of causes some of them being injury (to the lower back), ruptured disk, bulging disk, spinal injury, and spinal stenosis. Sciatica is most cases originates from the lower back, and most true sciatica cases are caused by spinal injuries or issues.

WHERE IS THE SCIATIC NERVE:

The sciatic nerve is a nerve that originates in the lower back on either side of the spine. It runs through the buttocks and into the hips before branching down each leg. In some cases, the sciatic nerve runs under or through the piriformis muscle.

This nerve is the longest nerve in the body and provides sensation to the outer leg and foot. Sciatica is nerve pain that runs through the buttocks, down the back of the leg and into the ankle or foot.

WHAT IS PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME:

Piriformis syndrome although it feels similar they are not. Piriformis syndrome often originates from the glute (hip buttocks) area, where sciatica originates from the lower back.

Piriformis syndrome causes sciatica-like symptoms when piriformis muscle pinches down on the sciatic nerve and causes pain just like sciatica: burning, tingling, shooting pain especially when sitting. However piriformis pain often does not travel below the knee, whereas sciatica will.

Both sciatica and piriformis are not a condition as much as they are symptom caused by another problem: a herniated disc, lower back injury, tight piriformis/hip muscles, pelvis or hip pain/injury, or misalignment. While most try to treat the symptoms it is critical to look to the root cause and try to find relief starting there.

Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, adds that the best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do “any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.”

5 STRETCHES FOR SCIATICA PAIN RELIEF:

KNEES INTO THE CHEST:

Knees into chest stretch sciatica MTY Blog

FIGURE FOUR STRETCH

Figure Four Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga

FIGURE FOUR STRETCH SEATED

Walking Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

COBRA

Cobra MTY BLog Sciatica

STANDING CALF STRETCH

Calf Stretch MTY Blog Sciatica

WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP:

Sometimes, you’ll need to actively seek the help of a chiropractor for sciatica. But under what circumstances should you do this? 

You should see a professional if you have: 

  • Pain that radiates from your lower lumbar spine to your buttocks and down your legs
  • Pain along your nerve pathways anywhere else
  • Sharp pains or mild burning pains
  • Prolonged pain after sitting

Please note that if you have sudden severe sciatic pain, you should visit your doctor.

SCIATICA PAIN RELIEF TREATMENT:

Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream is an excellent means for pain relief. Applying three to four times a day over the area of pain for immediate and long-lasting relief. The ingredients in Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream specifically target the affected area and provide cooling and warming relief, increased blood flow, and decreased inflammation. (Shop Now)

Stiff Mother Trucker Chart

Chiropractic care can be extremely helpful during a sciatica flare-up. When you find a good chiropractor he or she can help you realign your bones to give space for your body to begin to find relief. However, it is my own experience over the last 20 years working with thousands of people that chiropractic care alone will do very little for most. When the body is tight, stiff, and has created its own patterns in the fascia, resetting a bone using chiropractic practices can feel like a revolving door.

Consider coupling this form of treatment with massage therapy, yoga, stretching, or physical therapy to retrain your body to move, sit, and hold in different ways.

Ice treatments can be helpful immediately after you begin to feel the pain. Icing the glute if it is piriformis syndrome or the lower back and hip area if it is due to a lower back injury causing sciatica. Try 20 minutes of ice on and off for the first three or four days.

Heat is acceptable a few days after the flare-up begins. Using heat immediately may cause more aggravation.

SCIATICA PREVENTION:

Some people are unfortunately nearly 40% of people will end up feeling the effects of sciatica than others, and many it can be reoccurring.

 “People who suffer from acute or chronic back pain tend to be more susceptible to sciatica,” says Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. “Your risk also rises if you’re obese, if you smoke, or if you’re sedentary.”

An article from Bud and Tony’s Truck Parts on back pain stated that:

  • Awkward and uncomfortable sitting postures
  • Lifting
  • Repetition
  • Body vibration
  • Leaning, hunching, and rounding
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Poor posture
  • Lack of physical fitness

Bud and Tony's Truck Parts

It is not always possible to prevent sciatica. However, some lifestyle modifications, increase in regular exercise(s), improving core strength and movements throughout the day can help. In addition, regularly walking, using supportive devices for driving and desk work like BackShield and supportive sleeping can significantly help reduce a person’s risk of experiencing sciatica again.

In general, regular exercise and building a strong core may help prevent sciatica. Additionally maintaining a good posture while sitting and standing is important, and may make people less likely to develop sciatica than people with poor posture. Consider working with Mother Trucker Yoga to learn how to improve posture, exercises you can do directly from the cab and driver’s seat of your rig to help prevent and keep sciatica symptoms at bay. And inside our platform, you’ll get detailed step by step videos of the moves above!

 

Can Yoga Help For Travelers With Chronic Back Pain?

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Dealing with chronic pain and living on the road is not easy. Beyond struggling with fatigue and being away from family, many travelers and drivers have a hard time finding time for exercise.

But sitting long hours without doing counteractive activities puts a lot of strain on your body – particularly the back. Consequently, many travelers and truck drivers develop chronic back pain. 

One of the most effective ways to find relief from chronic back pain is yoga. Yoga is suitable for all levels, easy to do anywhere, and relaxes your body and mind. 

If you do not have a yoga mat, you can still practice yoga while you are traveling. There are dozens of stretches and poses you can do right from your truck or car’s seat. 

 

Signs And Causes Of Chronic Back Pain 

Nearly every person on earth will experience back pain at least once in their lives. But for those who sit long hours, the pain soon develops into a chronic condition. 

 

Here are some common symptoms of chronic back pain:

– A continuous dull ache

– Pain that moves down to the hips and legs

– Limited mobility

– Pain that gets worse with sitting

– Pain that decreases when moving or changing positions

– Pain that persists for more than three months

Although most people with chronic back pain have similar symptoms, the causes can significantly differ.

 

What causes back pain?

There are many causes of chronic back pain. The cause can impact what you should and shouldn’t do in your yoga practice. 

Here are the most common causes of chronic back pain:

 

Muscle Strains And Imbalances

Frequent travelers can experience a strain due to prolonged pressure to their lower back while sitting. When one muscle is strained, the others take over, which creates a muscle imbalance that further aggravates back pain. 

 

Herniated Or Bulging Discs 

As we age or with prolonged stress on the spine, we can develop bulging or herniated disks. 

Bulging disk happens when the disc loses its fluid. It becomes compressed, and this causes sharp pain. A herniated disk breaks through the outer layer and presses on the nearby nerve roots. A bulging disc causes uncomfortable pain but also can cause weakness and numbness. 

 

Other Issues In The Spine 

There are many other reasons why you can develop chronic back pain. For example, you may be born with or have developed a deformity, such as kyphosis or scoliosis. 

Kyphosis is when your upper back is hunched, pushing your head forward and causing strain along the spine. Long term sitting can equally cause this, so it is vital to be aware of good posture and stretch regularly. 

Scoliosis is when the spine curves to the right or left. It may be slight by just a few degrees, but for others, when not taken seriously, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. 

Many people have found relief from these conditions in yoga. Still, it’s of the highest importance to be correctly diagnosed before you start your practice. Ensure that you seek educated guidance from a teacher or guide who has the experience, understands the body, and will take the time to explain the how’s and why’s to you. Seeking a skilled professional will ensure safety while practicing and a deeper understanding of your own body. 

 

How Yoga Helps Drivers With Chronic Back Pain? 

Yoga is a clinically backed method for combating chronic back pain. 

It increases muscle strength, especially in the torso. As you develop a stronger back, core, and chest, you will maintain a healthy posture.

Yoga also increases your range of motion. Lack of flexibility is a frequent cause of back pain and is a common concern in those who travel a lot. 

Finally, yoga calms you down and helps you to manage stress better. Beyond being problematic on its own, stress can further aggravate chronic back pain. 

If you never practiced yoga, it would be best to start with a studio class when you can, then take what you learned to start your self-practice on the road. 

 

How to Practice Yoga On The Road?

One of the best things about yoga is that you can do it anywhere.

Traditional yoga requires you to have a flat surface and a mat, but there are also some poses you can do in your seat. If you’re interested in those – lookup chair yoga poses. 

Travelers with chronic pain yoga props Mother Trucker Yoga blog post

Here are additional tips to prepare you for practicing on the go:

–       Have a bag with everything you need – pack comfortable workout clothes, a yoga mat, and maybe some props like straps and blocks. No time or space for a yoga bag? No problem. You can do many stretches in your jeans and boots and use things you have like a towel or belt as a strap. 

–       Schedule your practice – we are more likely to do something if it’s in our schedule. Try to designate at least 10 minutes for your sessions every day. Every little bit adds up. A stretch here, a pose there. Don’t be caught in the mindset of needed to designate a block out 30 or 60 minutes to exercise each day. The most important thing is to do something. 

–       Find online videos, like our platform designed perfectly for truck drivers and anyone else who lives on the road. Our easy-to-access online membership site is full of short, easy-to-follow videos showing you how to stretch, move and breathe right from the driver’s seat, sleeper, and right outside the cab of your truck or vehicle. Especially in the beginning having an educated teacher to guide you on video ensure that you do the stretches and poses safely and correctly. 

– Pack your pain relief cream, don’t forget to apply a soothing topical pain relief cream to those muscles that you have now woken up. A stiff body can feel like a glow stick cracked open to using when you start stretching again. The body has become stiff and can appear a bit sore after you first begin. Using a pain relief cream can help reduce the discomfort of your new routine if your muscles get a little cranky.

 

Check out some of our other great content: Neck Pain: 7 Ways to Drive Pain-Free 

14 Ways to Reduce Overwhelm and Stress | As a Truck Driver

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Overwhelm and stress. Stress can be overwhelming and even debilitating. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and negatively affect our immune system. We all know that stress isn’t good for us physically or mentally. However, how do we keep stress from manifesting itself into our daily lives?

Reduce Stress and Overwhelm Blog MTY

Life Is About Choices

The great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote a letter to his daughter who was worried over a mistake she’d made. This is what it said:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders, losses, and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Emerson’s quote serves as a reminder that we must give ourselves permission to make a few mistakes, be imperfect, and “fall off of the wagon” from time to time. Accept what you were able to accomplish and leave yesterday in the past. Do not let stress and mishaps prevent you from moving forward. 

An article that appeared in Medical News Today discusses how “overwhelm and stress, in common terms, is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. These demands can be related to finances, work, relationships, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress.”

You may not always be able to control what happens in your daily life, but you can practice healthy habits to manage stress.

14 ways to reduce stress and overwhelm get up early MTY blog post

14 Ways You To Reduce Stress and Overwhelm in Your Life:

  1. Get up a few minutes earlier than planned and take some time to be silent, meditate, and visualize how your day is going to be great.
  2. Learn to say “no.” Say no to projects that won’t fit into your schedule, your vision, or may compromise your mental and emotional health.
  3. Allow others to help you. If they didn’t want to help, they shouldn’t have asked. And that my friend is not your concern.
  4. Have a backup. Have a backup plan, a backup car key, a backup babysitter, a back up a ride home. We think that it takes too much time to prepare. But did you have the time to figure out a half a$$ solution thereafter?
  5. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble, concern, and pain. Ask yourself: “is what I am about to say helping or hurting”? And go from there.
  6. Eat right. Start with one right choice. An apple. A glass of water. No need to bulldoze your life today. Just add in one new food or drink more water and see where it takes you.
  7. Listen to relaxing music or guided meditations (Check out MTY’s guided meditations made just for drivers). Choose uplifting or motivating broadcasts or shows. Stay away from music, radios, and entertainment that only causes more pain, confusion, agitation, and anger. You can choose what you listen to.
  8. Laugh—every single day. Laugh. Laugh so hard you cry. And better yet, laugh with a friend. Laughter releases endorphins that you desperately need to stay happy.
  9. Keep a gratitude journal. When is the last time you stopped and reflected on all you have to be grateful for? The news and social media do an excellent job of showing us where we are imperfect and lacking. Remind yourself you have so much to be grateful for.
  10. Surround yourself with people who lift you rather than tear you down.
  11. Take ONE DEEP BREATH before you say or do anything more.
  12. Be kind to unkind people. Kindness matters. Being kind doesn’t mean you agree with them or even want to be their best friend. But if you won’t be helpful, then who will be?
  13. Slow down. Most of us are all in overdrive in multiple areas of our lives. What’s the hurry? What if you will get there at the exact right time, every time?
  14. Meditate, pray, practice yoga. When is the last time you unplugged with something that will plug you back in? Make sure you check out Mother Trucker Yoga’s Online Membership site were drivers just like you can come together and get fit- inside and outright from the cab of your truck

Finding the best overwhelm and stress relief strategies may take some time. Don’t give up if one doesn’t work; move on and try another. However, it’s essential to keep looking for the tools that will help you manage life’s ups and downs healthily. Keeping stress at a manageable level is vital for your overall well-being. 

Surround yourself with people that support you in your journey and leave those that don’t, behind. You won’t regret it. 

Resources: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php

Best Core Exercises for Truck Drivers

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Best Core Exercises for Truck Drivers when they don’t have a lot of time.

We have all heard how important it is to strengthen your core, but the only problem is most people are still doing traditional core work. 

What is traditional core work?

Traditional core work in my experience is exercised flat on your back, where you flex your body (crunch) up off the floor. When movements like these are coupled with flailing fast and furious body parts, you feel out of breath and hurt for the wrong reasons. Yet there we are calling “sit-ups” an excellent core workout when there is a better way. 

Times have changed and so has how we move, with the average person sitting 13 hours a day that’s enough if that’s not enough to consider moving more, I don’t know what is. And if you average in 8 hours of sleep on average, a person gets, that 21 hours PER DAY people are sitting. 

The stats don’t lie, we sit way to much!

On top of all of that sitting at work, and for meals and commuting, the respondents:

  • Sit another 1-2 hours while watching TV (36 percent)
  • Game another 1-2 hours (10 percent)
  • Lounge for 1-2 hours for things such as reading (25 percent)
  • Use their home computer for 1-2 hours (29 percent)” (PRNewswire)

And truck driver or not- we Americans sit WAY TO MUCH! 

So when you choose exercises to try to improve your health, fitness, and overall well-being, we want to make sure we are selecting movements that aid us in our everyday life.

Why Not Sit-Ups?

The traditional sit-up is done flat on your back; when core-based exercises are all performed this way, we lose the opportunity to use our back muscles (which are a part of our core). So if you are concerned with the health of your back and spine, it is best to opt for other movements when focusing on your midsection. 

Sit-ups also focus primarily on flexion, and for someone who spends most of their day sitting, this is not helping you. All of that flexion encourages the chest, pec, and neck muscles to stay short and tight, and the upper back and neck muscles to continue to be overstretched and strained. Think about your driving position (or if you are in an office, how you sit at your computer), after a few hours you end up with your head sinking forward and your shoulders and chest collapsing forward over the steering wheel. Like you would yank and pull on your upper body during a sit-up. 

Finally, those good-intentioned sit-ups only work a small portion of your core, and the movement you are choosing to do shortens the abs rather than lengthens them. And if you are going to work on your back, make sure you are finding what is called “neutral.” A place where your lower back is not pressed flat into the floor nor overly arched. 

So when you choose the best types of exercises to strengthen your core as a truck driver, choose movements that:

  1. Focus on form and function.

     Gone are the days that huffing and puffing, yanking and jerking your body all over the place and calling it a good workout are over. Core exercises or not, challenge yourself and see how well you can hold a move or move slowly and control how you move every step of the way. 

  2. Focus on movements that extend more than flex.

    The extension works the body 408% (roughly 10x) more effectively than flexion does.

  3. Focus on movements that include working your back muscles.

    When all we do is “front core” exercises or what many of us call “ab” exercises we actually leave our back vulnerable for injury. By inadvertently over strengthening our front core and neglecting our back muscles (which are a part of our core) we can sometimes do more harm than good. (Read more about neck issues what exercises to do to help)

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), core training is an essential part of any personal fitness routine. Your core helps transfer force and power from your lower to upper limbs. The stronger your midsection is, the safer you’ll be during exercise, plus when you have a stronger core, you are less likely to injure your back.

4 Exercises for Truckers to Strengthen Their Core:

Exercise #1 – Weighted Extension:

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Find a place to sit on your sleeper, the ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Bend your knees (optional place a pillow or small ball between your knees to squeeze for lower body stability. (If your tail bone is sensitive place a blanket under your tailbone)
  3. Grab your weight (1 lb – 10 lbs) and place it at your chest.
  4. Keep a straight spine (no rounding in the shoulders, upper back, or lower back).
  5. Inhale and exhale to prepare.
  6. Inhale slightly tuck your tail bone under and lean back to 45 degrees (do not go all the way down).
  7. Exhale and with control draw your body back up sitting tall and press your arms overhead/weight.
  8. Do not round your upper body when pressing up overhead. If your shoulders are tight press the arms to a 45-degree angle.
  9. Repeat this 10-30 reputations working on form, function, and control.

Weighted core full extension truck driver core workout mother trucker yoga blog post

Exercise #2 – Oblique Weighted Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Find a place to sit on your sleeper, the ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Bend your knees (optional place a pillow or small ball between your knees to squeeze for lower body stability. (If your tail bone is sensitive place a blanket under your tailbone)
  3. Grab your weight (1 lb – 10 lbs) and hold it in front of your chest (imagine there is a pole keeping your hands in front of your chest).
  4. Keep a straight spine (no rounding in the shoulders, upper back, or lower back).
  5. Inhale and exhale to prepare.
  6. Inhale slightly tuck your tail bone under and lean back to 45 degrees (do not go all the way down).
  7. Inhale and work to rotate to the right, really pay attention to your spine and rib cage rotating (not your hips and pelvis).
  8. Exhale and return back to center (stay at 45-degree angle).
  9. Inhale and work to rotate to the left, go as far as you can without rolling onto one hip or rounding your spine.
  10. Repeat this 5 to 20 rep each direction.

Oblique Weighted Twist Core Exercise Mother Trucker yoga Blog Post

Exercise #3 – Plank Oblique Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the sleeper, ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Drop to your forearms and place your elbows and fists a forearm’s width apart.
  3. Step one foot back at a time until your body is in one straight line.
  4. Press your fists into the floor to help activate your core.
  5. Drop your tailbone between your legs and press your lower abs and hip bones into your lower back.
  6. Draw your shoulders back and breathe.
  7. Now rotate your hips and lower body to the right.
  8. Press your hips up slightly to activate your obliques.
  9. Hold for 5-20 breaths, then repeat the opposite side.

Plank Oblique Twist Best Core Exercises for Truckers Mother Trucker Yoga Blog Post

Exercise #4 – Plank Oblique Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Start by lying down on your sleeper, the ground, or the floor.
  2. Adjust your pelvis so it’s level, do not press your lower back into the floor, imagine a small arch in your lower back.
  3. Draw your legs up to a tabletop position (optional: put a mini ball or pillow between the knees and squeeze for more stability) and flex your feet (you can opt to keep your feet on the ground OR do a few reps with one leg, and then switch to the other).
  4. Grab your weight (optional) and extend it up overhead. Turn the folds of your elbows towards your nose (shoulders move in external rotation).
  5. Inhale and exhale, work to stabilize your core, remember only go as far as you can keep your back and ribs from arching and pulling up towards the ceiling.
  6. Inhale, and begin to lower your legs towards the floor and your arms overhead.
  7. Reach through your fingers to stretch the shoulders.
  8. Exhale and draw your arms back up and knees back up over your hips.
  9. Repeat this 10 – 30 times moving mindfully with your breath. This is not a race.
  10. To make this more of a challenge (as long as you can keep your back from arching) once your heels meet 1 inch off the floor, press your legs long and engage your glutes and inner thighs.
  11. You go this!

Weighted core full extension truck driver core exercise mother trucker yoga blog post

weighted core full extension for truck drivers mother trucker yoga blog post

Strengthening your core is extremely important regardless of your physical state or your age. When implemented correctly, you can experience a decreased risk of injury, better stability, and performance during workouts. A strong core improves the quality of life for everyone and reduces the chances of severe injury.

Age, mobility restrictions, or past injuries shouldn’t prevent you from strengthening your core. You can get all these benefits by performing these exercises safely and effectively. Focus on proper breathing and posture first and ditch the sit-ups. You’re bound to notice better balance and stability and may even see a reduction in back pain. But they won’t do anything for you unless you allow yourself to start today with 5 minutes of simple core work. 

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4 Poses to Banish Stress Instantly While Traveling

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Stress can be overwhelming and even debilitating. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. Obviously, we all know that stress isn’t good for us physically or mentally. So, how do we banish stress in our every day lives?

As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced, and content. Yoga has helped me a great deal with handling stress and the side effects of stress. It helps to relieve tension by keeping me focused on my breath rather than all the thoughts racing through my heads.

Whether you are at home, work, or somewhere in between, yoga is a great way to find stress relief. So, to help you on your journey of finding ways to banish stress, here are three of my favorite yoga poses.

4 Poses to Banish Stress Instantly While Traveling

Heart Opening Pose Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Heart Opening Yoga Pose – Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch

This pose not only relieves pain in my upper back and shoulders; I can feel my mind and emotions melt when I do this. This heart-opening pose is one of my go-to poses after a stressful day when I can’t sleep or help relieve the tension of carrying life on my shoulders. As I work to widen my knees slowly, I feel relief to feel such space (even if it doesn’t look like it). The freedom of my body letting go into the safety of the floor for a few minutes is all I need to feel more like myself.

Constructive Rest Pose Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Constructive Rest Yoga Pose- Reduce Back Pain

Constructive Rest pose is a simple pose to relax and separate from the day. It diminishes back pain and can ease the immediate discomfort mentally, emotionally, and physically life can bring about. Lying on your bed, widen your feet slightly wider than your hips and let your knees fall together and completely support each other. If your knees do not touch naturally, then place a pillow or rolled towel between them so your legs can completely relax. Do this pose on your bed or the floor and focus on your breathing or listen to some relaxing music or guided meditation.

Seated Forward Bend Traveling Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Seated Forward Bend – Complete Stretch from Foot to Forehead

 

Stress - Version 2 Seated Forward Bend Yoga pose Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

This pose is often used in yoga therapy to help manage depression. It is also known to soothe headache and anxiety and reduce fatigue. The feeling of bending forward eases the mind. Try to deepen your breathing during this pose and hold for one to five minutes. This pose brings me full circle to the simplicity that I am okay the way I am something we all can benefit from when stress steps in.

Be gentle to yourself so that life can be gentle back to you. Never force yourself into a forward bend, especially when sitting on the floor. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso slightly, with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. If you are new to this pose, it helps to hold a strap around the feel. If you are incredibly tight, place a rolled-up blanket under your knees for added support. The more you relax in this pose, the more naturally your body will open up.

You Are Worth It

Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the mental discipline to jump up and get a workout in, or strike a yoga pose. I get it. However, what I have discovered is that if you do make the time for yourself, you will see how yoga can help you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are worth it and you owe it to yourself to make time for you. It can feel that if we work ourselves into the ground that we will somehow win an award. But the only award you will be winning is one of disability and mental uneasiness. I am telling you that it is OK and vital that you take care of you, and you can do that starting with just a few minutes a day right in the cab of your truck. 

If you want to get professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes all in the comfort and privacy of your own rig. I invite you to check out Mother Trucker Yoga Online Studio Platform. No stress, no hassle, no sitters, and no fuss. This is not just another fitness program showing you moves from their gym where you try to figure out how to make this work in your truck.–it’s a fresh approach all done in and around the cab of the truck! I know that I know you will enjoy it. 

If you are experiencing stress right now, here are some other helpful resources:

10 Steps to Setting Goals as a Truck Driver

Benefits of Meditation- Simple Ways to Start Meditating

The 13th Step of Addiction Recovery 

3 Stretches to Improve Hand Mobility While Driving

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Pain can halt any job dead in its tracks. But when you are a truck driver the last thing you need is to come to a dead stop. Having a good grip is one of the number one things a truck driver needs. Why? Because controlling that 18 wheeler while out on the open road requires several things, one is gripping the steering wheel. Having good hand mobility includes your fingers, wrists and arms.

Sure it may seem insignificant, but not being able to grip the steering wheel, ratchet down your load, or open your truck door all require your hands to work properly.

If you find daily tasks difficult to do because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, the right exercises can help get you back in motion.

Repetitive strain injuries are not just for those who type on a computer or hold a hammer. Continuously holding your steering wheel in a particular way can also cause pain and discomfort. And the lack of having full range of motion regularly is a big part of the problem with anyone with hand and wrist issues.

Taking a time out and stretching your fingers, hands, and wrists is one of the best ways to keep pain and discomfort at bay and increase hand mobility and function.

Below you will find five commonly recommended exercises for hand and wrist problems. However, if your hand condition is painful or debilitating, it’s best to get exercise advice from a physical therapist. All exercises should be done slowly and deliberately, to avoid pain and injury. If you feel numbness or pain during or after exercising, stop and contact your doctor.

FINGER  AND HAND STRETCHES:

Most of the time the only way we are moving our fingers is into flexion. AKA curling them into the grip. When you repeatedly do something over and over you create a pattern. Like driving a dirt bike on the grass over and over, you eventually create a dirt path within the grassy ground.

TRY THIS: Open and outstretch your hand as wide as you can. Look at it from the side and see if all of your fingers straighten up. Is it hard to do? When is the last time you stretched (extended) those joints? Did something that didn’t require you to “grip”?

PRO TIP: Twice a day stretch your fingers, you can pull back on each finger one at a time. Or you can also use the steering wheel and stretch each finger again the wheel. Try to hold the stretch for at least 10-20 seconds each.

Finger Stretches Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

WRIST AND HAND STRETCHES:

Most of us have jobs where we use our body by folding inward. Bending forward. Rounding forward. Gripping. Internally rotating. Not only does this create patterns in our body to where we start to stand, sit, move and exercise with those patterns, it also plays a negative role in how we feel. Closing off the chest, can increase anxiety, depression and decrease breathing.

When it comes to the wrists we need to reverse it. if you want to increase hand mobility and if you suffer from tennis elbow, wrist strain, or even shoulder strain, a little extension in the wrists could bring relief.

TRY THIS: Next time you are standing next to your truck, a wall, or even use the steering wheel, turn your forearm up and stretch your palm/wrist out. Try to keep the fold of the elbow facing upward and if you are using your truck, lean your elbow into your body to brace the stretch. If you are in your truck create a full extension on your elbow and keep the eye (the fold) of the elbow facing upward.

PRO TIP: Do this at least twice a day and try to hold this for 30 seconds to one minute. You may notice a ripping like feeling. Don’t be alarmed, that is the fascia of the body stretching and releasing. Think of it like fuzz melting off. If you haven’t melted the fuzz in a while, it’s going to be sticky!

Wrist Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Wrist Stretch in truck mother trucker yoga

SHOULDER & UPPER ARM STRETCH:

When there is physical pain, oftentimes those in pain only look to where they “feel” pain as the culprit of the pain. But when it comes to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, any one of the three just listed can cause another pain. So next time your wrist or hand is giving you grief, look up a little higher to the shoulder. Tennis elbow? Could be the shoulder to blame. Hand mobility doesn’t just mean you have a hand issue, neighboring body parts can be to blame.

TRY THIS: Next time you are waiting to load or unload, have a little downtime or are on break, try this quick and easy shoulder and upper arm stretch. Simple cross one arm in front of your chest and latch it in with the other, hugging it tightly. Try to straighten the arm that is laying across your chest to increase the stretch. Hold it for at least 30 seconds. And then repeat the opposite side.

PRO TIP: While stretching, it is important to try to relax your shoulders and breathe deeply. Hold the stretch until the initial pain drops at least in half. Look towards the stretching arms side to get the neck involved as well.

Shoulder Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Don’t let pain be the reason you stop doing what you love. Or keep you from your job. Taking preventative measures is one of the best ways to keep your body working with you and not against you. Regular stretching not only is good for the body, but it releases endorphins to the brain and leaves you happier and healthier.

The next time your wrists and hands start calling a TIME OUT, remember these simple easy stretches you can do no matter where the open road takes you.

And don’t forget about our Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream, perfect to use after you stretch your hands, wrists, and arms. Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream was specifically formulated for professional truck drivers to meet their body’s pain in contact. We believe that every driver can feel better wherever they are with simple easy stretches and practices, one of them being pain relief cream.

No matter where you are, on the road or at home, remember there are simple and easy things you can do today to start to feel your best.

 

Want to read more from Mother Trucker Yoga?

10 Tips for a Functional Body Blog 

 

Neck Pain: 7 Ways to Drive Pain-Free

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Neck pain can be a royal pain when it comes to driving. And when you are a professional truck driver a pain in the neck can absolutely put a halt on your plan to keep rolling.

Neck pain has an annual prevalence rate exceeding 30% among adults in the US; nearly 50% of individuals will continue to experience some degree of chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences. Says Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research.

The causes of neck pain can be vast from trauma, injuries, poor sleep position, medical conditions, whiplash, stress or muscle strains or pain and even nerve-related issues. When it comes to being a truck driver dealing with a stiff neck can often be a daily concern you just learn to “deal with” day in and day out. Getting stiff neck can often revolve around holding your head in a particular position for a long period of time, or even using one or both arms for long periods of time. Even having your torso rotated a certain way and when it comes to truck drivers, the constant impact of your driving conditions can and does play a large role in neck pain and discomfort.

When your truck is your workplace, home and vehicle learning how to prevent and treat neck pain can dramatically improve how you feel day today. Here’s how to reduce stress and neck pain so you can get back on the road feeling better than ever.

Neck Pain: Staying Pain-Free on the Road

Posture and how you sit in the driver’s seat play a large role in how your neck and back feel day in and day out. The constant stress caused by driving, gripping the steering wheel, leaning on the driver’s side door or only using one hand or arm for daily tasks associated with driving can contribute to neck pain. Adjusting your body and posture while driving can and will reduce pain and get you back on the road feeling relief.

Start with a good driving posture.

The best angle for the back of your seat is at 100 degrees, which is just shy of straight. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel and elbows comfortably on the armrests.

Forawrd head for truck drivers blog post mother trucker yoga

  1. Reposition your head.

    From the desk to the driver’s seat, the forward-head position is a major cause of neck tension and pain. Think about your ears being over your shoulders. Making this adjustment is not so much a tuck down with your chin as it is sliding back. Check out this video on neck stretches to help you reduce the pain of postural changes.

  2. Use back support.

    No matter how nice your truck seat is, rarely are they truly made for ideal lumbar support. Sinking back into your seat in your lower back rounds back like the letter “C”. Our spine is meant to be like the letter “S” to help absorb impact and better support what is on top (our head). And if you are a truck driver impact is your constant enemy while driving. I absolutely love BackShield (use the link for 10% off and FREE shipping) back support, which puts your spine in the right position and also protects your back upon impact. Plus BackShield doubles as traction support to lay on after a long day.

  3. Adjust your mirrors.

    Move your side mirrors so you have the widest field of vision so you can minimize awkward movements with your head at sudden notice. Pay attention throughout the day if you adjust your mirrors for your ever slumping posture as the day goes on. You may need a mid-day stretch to get you standing and sitting tall somewhere along the route.

  4. Avoid eyestrain and impaired driving.

    There are many reasons you may be straining to see. If your vision is to blame, please seek proper professional aid to receive the proper support. But poor vision can lead to eyestrain while driving, which can cause you to lean forward and slide your head towards the steering wheel while driving. This forward head position puts major pressure and strain on the muscles of the upper back and neck. And also tightens and shortens the muscles of the front of the neck and chest. Use sunglasses if driving in bright light, and use the proper eye protection at night if night lights strain your vision.

  5. Take a break.

    If you start to get a stiff neck, are feeling neck pain, or better yet want to prevent it, pull into the next rest stop. Do some stretching and walk off the kinks.

  6. Ditch the pillow.

    After driving all day to consider going pillowless, even for just a few minutes or hours. When it’s bedtime our body recoils into it’s most comfortable position-meaning how we spend our time most. Head forward and knees tucked in and fetal like. Stretch out and lay flat. Slide the BackShield under your back for spinal relief and start to respond to your body properly rather than react continuously.

  7. Stretch.

    Yes, it’s not fancy, but stretch your muscles, moving your body in different positions than what you do on a daily basis can and will help you reduce pain and strain. Simple easy stretches just a few minutes a day can and will leave you feeling your best on and off the road. Try this one from our Fitness Minute at Instagram:

    Check out what Mother Trucker Yoga can help you with while you are out on the road. During this difficult time, we want you to enjoy a FREE 30 days with Mother Trucker Yoga. Simply use the code: CORONA2020.

Truck drivers are the heroes of our highways and we so appreciate everything you do. But it is vital that you take care of yourself. Living over the road for weeks on end may not be ideal or “typical” but with a little prep and self-care, you can keep your health and physical body in check with as little as 5 minutes a day. You can avoid driving with neck pain by maintaining good posture and making the necessary driving adjustments that can and will take the strain off your neck.

 

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Enjoy this post? Check out some of our other blog posts here at Mother Trucker Yoga

  1. Put Back Pain in the Rear View Mirror  
  2. Benefits of Meditation