Low Back Pain in Truckers: Not Just a Myth

Studies show that 8 out of 10 people in the population have presented or will one time present with an episode of low back pain due to the active lifestyle they lead. Low back pain represents 50 percent of all musculoskeletal dysfunctions, making it the highest leading cause of expenses including treatments and job absenteeism.

Low back pain is a result of various causes, ranging from trauma to the back to diseases. One category of low back pain is occupational-related. The onset of this condition occurs when the individual takes part in strenuous movements related to certain occupations. Most of these occupations involve sitting for long periods of time, repetitive movements, tilting, and torsion of the trunk and lifting heavy items. Not only does the exposure to these risk factors lead to low back pain, but the time of exposure to the risk factors determines the onset of this pain. Read more about low back pain at Free Your Spine. Meanwhile, let us find out what truckers go through.

Truckers Are Vulnerable

Among the many people affected by this condition are long-distance truck drivers. These drivers present three times the risk for low back pain when compared to workers involved in other jobs. This is explained not only by the risk factors presented in the section above, but also the extensive level of stress that these drivers are subjected to in general.

Statistics

Studies performed in the past have shown that among the drivers evaluated for low back pain, 6 out of 10 experienced low back pain. Of those suffering from back pain, 60 percent were experiencing the pain at the time, 30 percent had occasional pain while 10 percent had constant pain.

The studies also investigated the factors that led to the onset of the pain. Of these factors, it was found out that the severity of the pain correlated to the number of working hours, with most truckers driving longer hours experiencing the pain more than those driving shorter hours.

Other factors that came into play include age, length of time spent on the job, hours of sleep and the level of physical activity.

Weight and Low Back Pain in Truckers

Studies showed a relationship between the incidence of low back pain and being overweight. Truckers that weighed more experienced higher incidences of low back pain. This is reasonable because the more the weight, the higher the strain on the lower back. The weight increases the weight on the intervertebral disks and other structures of your back, which in turn causes pain.

The same relationship was discovered concerning the height of the trucker. Due to the height, the driver works under poor ergonomic conditions that end up triggering low back pain.

Long Working Hours

Most truckers accept the fact that they experience lower back pain when they drive for long hours. Most drivers have to work on deadlines which force them to ignore the need for truck stops for refreshments and some rest. The extended period places a lot of strain on the back of the trucker, which in turn triggers low back pain. Poor road conditions also cause unnecessary jolts that impact the back.

Driving for long distances without rest places unnecessary strain on the musculature. It is also psychologically and physically consuming, which leaves the muscles and tendons, especially those of the trunk tense and sore.

The long working hours expose the trucker to different stress factors such as remaining seated for long periods of time, vibrations, excessive bending, and twisting of the trunk. These factors lead to low back pain.

Ergonomy Issues in the Truck

The seats of the truck are made in such a way that they don’t promote proper sitting posture. Most of these seats are adjustable, but not to the level where the trucker can have various reclining options. Most truckers get to use lumbar supporters, but they don’t do this so often, making it hard to maintain the right posture. Additionally, maintaining a single posture for long distances is the perfect recipe for this pain.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t take time for a new trucker to start experiencing symptoms of low back pain. The causes of this include sitting for long times, handling long working hours and carrying bulky items. The poor posture also contributes to this problem.

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