National Chiropractic Health Month: How to Adjust Your Driver Fitness
You are behind the wheel for hours a day, and it doesn’t take long to realize that your mobile office can cause you some problems. Pain is a regular occurrence for most truck drivers and is often looked at as something that just comes with the territory. But we want to change that, so we partnered with Truckstop this October for National Chiropractic Health Month to let drivers know that there are solutions out there that can help you not just with finding a load but with taking care of the person driving it too. We surveyed over 200 drivers here at Mother Trucker Yoga, and of them, 77% said neck and back pain were their top three most significant occupation pain points.
WHY DO SO MANY TRUCK DRIVERS HAVE PROBLEMS WITH BACK PAIN: ADJUST YOUR DRIVER FITNESS
REPETITIVE STRESS INJURIES IN TRUCK DRIVERS
Repetitive stress injuries don’t just occur in the office by people who type on a keyboard all day. Repetitive stress injuries also can affect truck drivers, especially when it comes to sitting and driving. The continuous daily driving position of a C-Curved spine and 90-degree angle at the hip, mixed with a side of clutch and shifting, can affect the lower back, neck, shoulder, and hip. But on top of the long- hours sitting, the constant vibrations of the road can make it even more strenuous on the spine and joints.
Mother Trucker Yoga is excited to be teaming up with Truckstop to show how the Truckstop Go app ™ can help you book loads and provide assistance with Factoring. Truckstop takes the health of your business as seriously as Mother Trucker Yoga takes your health and fitness. We both want to make it easy for drivers to manage their day, their work, and their health on every level, and by teaming up, we can do that for even more drivers like you.
HERE ARE A FEW HELPFUL STRATEGIES TO GET BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL WITH LESS PAIN
Tune up your posture.
Sitting all day puts all sorts of stress and strain on your body; mix that with the effects of gravity and you have some significant back and neck pain. Improving your posture can be as simple as the 5-Point Posture Safety Check. Before you go out and invest in some quick fixes, consider what you can do from the truck to fix where the problem could stem from.
- Align your pelvis. – Keep it level and visualize sitting on the bottom edge of your pants pockets, not the top.
- Slightly arch your back. – You want to keep the S-Curve in your spine present. Long-term sitting can cause more of a C-Spine shape, making it difficult to absorb some impacts while driving (much like a spring).
- Shoulders down. – You might start the day sitting tall, but after a few hours, you find yourself hunched over the steering wheel. Check-in regularly with the back of the seat and use that touch point to relax your shoulders and back. You might be surprised to find how far forward you are.
- Open your chest and relax your arms. – Lift your heart and relax your elbows. A collapsed chest can cause a mysterious pain in the upper back and even shallow breathing, leading to increased stress and anxiety. Lift your heart and open your chest, and you will immediately find yourself breathing more deeply and feeling better.
- Slide your chin slightly in. – Forward head is ubiquitous while driving and puts a lot of strain on your upper back and neck, causing immediate pain and even headaches. Take your first two fingers and with a level chin, slide your chin and head back a few inches to help it sit back on your shoulders where it belongs.
These are all learned behaviors and habits; try setting the alarm every hour to make a particular sound that will notify you as a reminder to adjust your posture. Doing a posture safety check may help you while you’re out on the road and can’t get to the chiropractor for an adjustment. And when you do make it to your chiropractor, you now have healthy postural habits to help those adjustments hold up for longer, which means you feel better for the long haul.
2. Stretch Regularly
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but a few minutes of stretching sprinkled throughout your day can be a game changer regarding how you physically feel and in keeping your body healthy and in alignment.
Three Simple Truck Driver Fitness Stretches To Do Daily:
1. Overhead Extension
- Sit tall.
- Reach one or both arms up overhead.
- Place your hands up against or towards the ceiling of your truck.
- Lean into your underarms to feel a stretch.
- Or interlace your fingers and press your palms up and back to stretch.
2. Seat Belt Spinal Twist
- Sit tall.
- Take a deep breath in and rotate towards your seat belt.
- Try grabbing it with the opposite arm.
- And try to twist your spine a little further to stretch.
- Hold for five to ten breaths.
- Unwind and rotate the other way as you click your seat belt.
- Take five to ten breaths.
- Slowly unwind and come back to the center.
3. Drivers Seat Hip Stretch
- Make space in front of you wherever you are sitting.
- Bring one leg up and bend your knee.
- Let your leg drop open and rest on your seat with your foot towards your opposite thigh.
- Gently press against the thigh with your hand to help open the hip.
- Take a deep breath and sit tall.
- Slowly hinge from your hip forward to increase the stretch.
- Hold for five to ten breaths.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Prioritize Your Time
I know this can be easier said than done, when you feel like you are always rushing, chasing, and playing catchup with the day-to-day duties from paperwork, to finding a load, to insurance issues, or just managing everyday stressors. This can leave you with a lack of desire to do anything to take care of yourself. Truckstop does a fantastic job helping drivers with the day-to-day operations to help make your job and looking for loads that much easier so that you have more time for self-care and stretching.
When I see a company with a platform designed for large and small trucking outfits and Owner Operators, and they are passionate about truck driver health (and don’t just say that because it sounds good), I dig into seeing what they are like. Truckstop does an excellent job reporting load rates and the Truckstop Go app lets users book loads on-the-go, enabling them to have the time to sneak in a stretch here and there without taking any time out of their busy lives, which in today’s world is a must.
If you are using the Truckstop Go app while safely parked or at home, try this:
- Just before you log on, reach up overhead, look up, and arch back slightly to stretch to help combat rounded shoulders.
- When scrolling looking for the perfect load, stand up and do a few squats or calf raises to improve circulation in your legs.
- When you are excited because you got paid so quickly for your load and now have valuable time to spend on your health and want to celebrate – run in place in your chair or the driver’s seat by swiftly moving your arms like you are running and lifting and lowering your legs as fast as you can for 30 seconds to get your heart rate up and tone your core.
YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD AGAIN.
What is one small, simple change you can make today to improve your health? Don’t fall into the trap of needing to do it all at once or needing to overhaul your life. Think small and consistent. This is about building healthy habits over time; we know you can’t do this alone. And now you don’t need to.