Anyone who has suffered with a bout of back, neck or similar spinal pain will attest to the fact that it can be extremely debilitating.
And for an HGV driver, it can be seriously detrimental to the career. With more than 30 million work days lost in the UK to back and neck pain across the entire British workforce, it’s clearly a major issue whatever industry you may work. The problem is especially acute in the transport sector with a report in 2014 declaring that as many as 54% of those who drive professionally either for HGV, coach, bus or even taxi suffer from some kind of spinal pain in the back, shoulders or neck.
Now, the implications of having half or your workforce suffering from some kind of injury or discomfort can certainly have implications on the industry, not least in terms of productivity through days lost or simply not being able to function properly. Indeed, back pain has a tendency to be one of those things that people put up with, almost ignoring (or getting used to) it until, eventually the problem gets to the point that it’s too bad with recuperation time that much longer.
Which is why anyone who spends a large portion of their day sitting behind the wheel of a car, truck, lorry, bus or coach should try to take at least some small measure in an attempt to alleviate the pain and associated problems relating to our backs, necks and shoulders.
Plenty of REST
It’s kind of common sense I suppose, and certainly a factor in ensuring our health in general is maintained as best as possible but making the time for adequate rest away from work is an important factor for helping your back recover from the strain of your daily driving. Additionally, being well rested helps keep stress levels down which can contribute to lower immune systems and added tension in the muscles vital for our spinal health.
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
You are going to be in that driving seat for quite a long time so make sure you’re comfy. Get your seat positioned in the correct way for your posture and enabling you to control the vehicle without over reaching or putting undue strain on your spine. Additionally make sure that you can see properly out of your mirrors without having to over exert your neck through leaning or turning. As for your sitting position, you should try to support your lumbar (lower back region) so keep that bottom back in the seat so that you can keep your back upright without slumping as much as is possible.
Stretches and Exercise
As with any sporting endeavour, to ward of strain and injury you should try to incorporate some stretches and exercise into your day, both in and out of work if possible. Adequate stretching and exercise of the key muscles which help support your spine can significantly help reduce the problem of back pain in the long term. In addition, try to make sure you take advantage of any breaks in the working day but taking some time away from the driving seat, getting your legs and back straightened – even by simply taking a short walk – to help ease the strain and keep your back from ceasing up by being in the same position for prolonged periods.
For guidance on adequate exercise and stretches for your back you should consult a specialist or physio who can advise on a programme to suit you.