Do you often have back pain and wonder where it comes from and what is causing it? Almost every truck driver knows the problems, but there is no single cause, but many factors that play a part. You must first learn to recognise these and then act accordingly.
Please note that our information is intended as an aid and does not provide any medical advice. If you have severe pain or long-term problems, please seek medical advice.
Improvements for your everyday working life as a trucker
Approximately two-thirds of truck drivers sleep four or five times a week in their truck before returning home for the weekend, or spend their weekly rest periods outside their vehicle. Consequently, it is not surprising that an above-average number of drivers suffer from back pain. Long periods of sitting is extremely harmful. The stress when driving also leads to tension and pain. The jolts and vibrations from the roads and tarmac are a continuous strain on the spine.
Not only the journeys are crucial for the burden on their health, also the loading and unloading of the truck plays a role. Lack of exercise plays an equally important role in the development of back pain as do monotonous and repetitive movements. It also leads to drivers becoming overweight.
An online survey revealed averages that also give reason for concern. On average, a German driver weighs 95 kilos with a height of 1.80 m and an age of 44 years. This still relatively slight overweight can both increase with age as well as impact negatively on the body as a whole.
At truck-wash.com we have put together some valuable tips for your health in the driver’s cab.
The right truck seat
The decisive factor for correct seating is and remains a high-quality truck seat. Look out for individual adjustment options so that you can adjust the seat for your own needs. Make sure you are sitting with a slightly reclined and relaxed posture. More information can be found on the website of BG Verkehr.
- Food: Especially for truck drivers, eating the right food and maintaining healthy diet is not easy. We’ll give you tips on how to change your diet in a healthy and delicious way. However, you should be ready to step out of your comfort zone. Basically, the food at motorway restaurants, unfortunately, often contains a lot of fat and is very high in calories. But usually you have the choice. If you choose lean meat or poultry and pasta or rice instead of chips, you will be doing your body the world of good. Snacks like fruits and vegetables are great as a healthy snack.
Have you ever thought about getting yourself a gas cooker or a portable gas grill and cooking your own meals? Modern trucks have refrigerators in which you can store the ingredients. With little effort, you can prepare your own meals. You can find a suitable cookery book here.
- Drinking: Make sure you drink enough. You shouldn’t even wait until you feel thirsty – by this time your concentration has already been suffering for a long while, which can be dangerous on the road. You should be drinking at least two to three litres per day. Water or unsweetened tea is ideal. It is better to avoid juices or soft drinks – they make you fat and tired due to their high sugar content. If you get tired on the journey or your vision goes blurry, drink half a litre of water. You will be surprised how much better you feel afterwards. It helps if you always drink a certain amount between breaks.
Get enough sleep
This is something for which there is no substitute: Caffeine or other stimulants even affect your sleep when you finally get the opportunity for a nap. You yourself can control your own sleeping routine. Getting enough sleep enhances your concentration and helps you feel less stressed. Your physical well-being is vital for your health.
As a truck driver, you naturally get less exercise than other occupational groups. For long periods of time, you just keep an eye on the road and drive as steadily as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways for you to keep fit during your breaks without much effort.
- Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. This strengthens your muscles.
- Take advantage of the short breaks and longer lunch break to go for short walks.
- Have a takeaway coffee and go for a walk instead of sitting in the restaurant
- Circle your shoulders at every opportunity to relax your neck and muscles. During the walk, it is best to let your arms rotate full circle.
- You can effectively prevent muscle cramps by taking a few minutes to loosen up and do a few stretching exercises every day before you drive off to boost your muscles’ blood flow. This video offers a number of good suggestions for that.
Life as a truck driver is not good for the body. But there are several strategies that can improve your well-being without too much effort. With a healthy diet, adequate drinking and sleep, the right exercise and a proper seat you can keep healthy. This will prevent you from becoming overweight, which is responsible for back problems in many cases.