A lot of truck drivers experience back pain – it happens because of the nature of the job. Tow truck drivers are no exception. When you sit for long stretches of time, get jolted and jostled around as you’re driving, get in and out of the cab of your truck, and lift heavy loads on a regular basis, back pain tends to happen. The back is made up of lots of muscles, vertebrae, disks, and nerves, and just a small tweak to one of these things can aggravate it. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to prevent back pain as a tow truck driver.
How to prevent back pain.
1. Sit with good posture by adjusting your seat.
Having your seat adjusted properly can help you avoid the temptation to slouch as you drive. Slouching is not good for your back. You need to have your seat set so that you can comfortably reach the pedals and steering wheel. As you’re driving, your legs are working to push the pedals, but you can’t set both feet firm on the floor like you can when you’re sitting normally.
To make sure your seat is adjusted properly…
- The back of your knee should be just over the edge of the seat, not pressing into the seat.
- Your entire back should touch the seat.
- The top of your head should be resting against the headrest.
- The steering wheel should be comfortable to reach out and hold.
- Your arms should be at a slight angle and you shouldn’t have to strain to grip the wheel.
Over time, sitting with bad posture can cause the discs in your back to move out of their proper place…which is as painful as it sounds. However, if your seat is adjusted properly, it will help you sit up straight and have good posture as you drive.
2. Adjust your mirrors.
It’s important to adjust your mirrors so that you don’t have to strain or twist your neck awkwardly to use them. You can really hurt your neck and back if you tweak your spine while trying to do a shoulder check or look in your mirror. Make sure to check your mirrors before setting out on your trips.
3. Take care when lifting.
When you’re a tow truck driver, you might have to do some heavy lifting. But the strain and exertion of lifting things, carrying things, and pushing things can be disastrous for your back. It’s important that you lift with your legs, not your back and arms.
Lifting can also cause problems for you because oftentimes you’ve been sitting down for a long time while driving before you have to go to work. If you’ve been sitting and then start lifting things, your back might protest. To protect the discs in your back while lifting, use your legs and keep your elbows close to your body. That will prevent you from carrying all the weight on your arms and spine.
4. Take breaks and stretch.
It’s important to stretch often. Taking some time to gently stretch your muscles can help relieve some of the tension that builds in your back. Walk around and take a little break if you feel like you need to. But of course, don’t overdo it – you need to be gentle when you stretch.
5. Spend time exercising.
Doing some light exercise on a regular basis can help your back muscles stay loose and, well, less angry. Don’t overdo it on the exercise or push yourself too hard too fast, but exercise can help strengthen your core muscles and back muscles. And that can also help you prevent back pain.
6. Eat healthy and drink lots of water.
Your diet can have a major effect on how you feel. Eating healthy can make you feel refreshed, and it can help your body heal itself more effectively. And maintaining a healthy weight can also help you prevent back pain.
It’s also important to stay hydrated. By drinking plenty of water during the day, you can stay healthy and avoid pain.
7. Take everything out of your pockets.
If you leave your phone or your wallet in your pocket while you drive, it can press against your leg. That can interfere with blood flow. It can also make your hip settle into an awkward position, and in turn that can aggravate your spine because it has to curve.
8. Get lots of sleep.
The body rejuvenates and heals when you sleep. So, it’s a good idea to get plenty of sleep on a supportive mattress. Keep in mind that many grown-ups need about 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Another thing about sleep:
Getting a lot of sleep can help you avoid drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is dangerous because it impairs your reaction time and ability to make quick decisions. It’s important to be fully alert and attentive while driving. Getting lots of sleep and being pain-free can help you with being a defensive driver.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you avoid back pain. Being a tow truck driver is hard enough as it is without having to do your job while in pain. Take the time to take care of your body – and especially the complex system that is your back.
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