Recently we spent sometime over at Chippenham Pit Stop supporting their back care initiative for truckers. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, 81% of truck drivers reported low back pain in 2018/19. So what makes lorry driving a precursor for back pain?
Like with anything in life we become what we repeatedly do, so if you sit in a cab for 9-10 hours a day your body is going to become that posture. By this we mean your body learns your seated driving position, the muscles at the back of your legs and hip flexors get tight, which is often accompanied by stiffness in the back and this may develop into lower back pain.
So, to help support your spine we've put together 3 simple exercises you can be doing when you stop to reduce your back pain, protect your back and make your onwards journey more comfortable.
Firstly, getting out of the cab correctly is one of the biggest contributing factors to the lower back pain we've witnessed in lorry drivers. From jumping down from the cab or skipping the bottom step and landing abruptly on one leg, is saving a few seconds on your descent worth the risk of low back pain? I thought not, so make sure you're using good practice to protect your back.
This is closely followed by the time spent driving continuous, typical driving advice is any time greater than 2 hours you should take a break and then every hour thereafter. Often we begrudge taking regular breaks and it isn't always the most convenient, especially with a lorry finding somewhere to stop, however the more you stick to taking regular breaks to get out the cab and get moving the better it is for your spine. After all we're designed to move.
1. Roll down
Stand comfortably, slowly tuck chin to chest and continue to flex through the mid and lower back as if you're curling to touch your toes, once at end range hold this position or hold opposite elbows and gently sway side to side to encourage mobility through the lower spine. To return to upright, tuck the tailbone and continue to roll slowly upwards.
Repeat 3 times trying to deepen your reach each time.
Click here to see how https://youtu.be/VpQ9SPwNPvY
2. Modified Chair (use cab instead)
Bend forwards with straight legs and lean forwards (hip hinge) until hands contact the cab, you should feel a stretch down the back of the legs. If you feel mobility is stopping you reaching this stretch or the pull is too intense slightly bend the knees to find a more comfortable position. To return to upright, slowly walk feet inwards and continue to lift torso.
Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Click here to see how https://youtu.be/9la2EdGZ-bc
3. High lunge
In this exercise step forwards, and bend the front knee, dropping the back knee towards the ground. If you feel unstable use the cab for support. Keep your torso upright, tuck your tail and lean forwards. This stretch targets your hip flexors so you should be feeling this front of the hip on the back leg, and into the top of the thigh.
Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.
Click here to see how https://youtu.be/xASFze7P-Fs
Don't forget to take these tips with you on your onwards travels. Safe trucking!
For more back care tips follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@laurafishlockosteopathy). If you'd like more advice on your low back pain contact our team or book an appointment.