After a long day behind the wheel, it’s not uncommon to suffer from a few aches and pains. For drivers specifically, some of the most commonly injured areas include: the muscles, joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and musculoskeletal disorders which include: carpal tunnel, arthritis, tendinitis, muscle pulls, strains, back pain, and gout. These common problems are caused by poor ergonomics, vibrations, strenuous activity, and repetitive motion.
Unfortunately for drivers, muscles and connective tissue function similarly to a rubber band, when a band sits in the same position for a long duration of time it becomes brittle which eventually causes snaps and breakage. Essentially, sitting for long periods of time causes muscles to tighten and eventually lose their elasticity – joints can also lose their lubrication. This in combination with the high likelihood of drivers quickly switching from a sedentary position into action to lift a heavy object or hop down out of the tractor could be a recipe for disaster. So what’s the best way to stay in good health and to kick discomfort to the curb? Find out here:
- Keep Moving | Physical activity, whether it be walking a few extra steps here and there or doing an in-cab workout routine may be the best solution. Exercise is widely recognized as a good natural pain reliever – and it’s also known to help prevent arthritis.
- Apply Hot or Cold Compresses | Experts strongly advocate for both methods, so choose the one that’s the most effective for you. Simply applying a hot or cold compress separated from your skin with a towel for 15-20 minutes at a time might just be the key to alleviating your pains.
- Stretch Out | Stretching out your overworked or strained muscles can be a great source of quick relief. Not only that, but it’s great for circulation and can relieve pain in certain areas for up to 30 minutes. These simple stretch exercises for drivers will help to prevent injury if practiced regularly:
Forward Fold (For Tight Back Muscles)
- Stand with your feet separated (about hip-width) and parallel, toes pointed forward.
- Bend your knees, and lean forward allowing your stomach to touch your thighs, and both your head and arms to dangle towards the ground.
- Completely relaxing your head, neck, back, and arms, take 5 deep breaths.
Standing Upside Down ‘L’ (For Back Pain Relief)
- Take ahold of a horizontal bar or step located on the side of the truck – make sure that it’s somewhere between your heart and your waist.
- Step backwards, taking small paces until your body has formed an ‘L’ shape.
- Look towards the ground, and keep your neck straight.
- Push your rear-end backwards using your leg muscles.
- Pull your head closer to the truck using the bar.
- Breath deeply 5 times.
Knee Raises (To Promote Flexibility)
- Stand with your feet apart and parallel (about hip-width in distance) with your toes pointing forward.
- Shift your weight completely onto your right leg and stand as tall as you can.
- Lift your left foot the the highest step on your truck that you can reach.
- Hold your knee, and lean into your left leg. – This stretches your hips and rear-end.
- Hold for 5 deep breaths.
- Switch and repeat.
Stretch Out Your Feet | Suffering from foot pain or cramps? Stretch it out using something as simple as a golf or tennis ball. Simply place the ball underneath your foot (in front of your heel) and gently roll the ball back and forth to stretch it out. Continue to do it once every day for best results. Here’s a quick demonstration.