Being a truck driver can have various effects on the body. Long hours sitting means your posture might become compromised and as your back gets tired there might be strain on organs. There are some things you can do to help your back while driving.
How can you help your back?
Long times sitting may lead to back pain or discomfort. This is usually from a lack of movement, which can affect the spine’s alignment and may lead to conditions like herniated discs. Making sure your driver seat has support for your spine and that it keeps you upright is one way to help. Be aware of how you’re sitting while driving, especially the further into your shift you go. Sit upright and avoid slumping. Look after your back by pulling over if you have to reach for something (this is obviously safer, too) so that you don’t twist in odd ways. If there is a gap between your lower spine and the seat, consider a lumbar cushion or even a rolled up towel. Both will help you stay upright and provide support.
Try to take regular breaks, do some back exercises and general stretches. Walk some distances if you have the time. When you bring your truck in for a wash, use this time to go for a walk or do some other exercises.
How are your veins affected?
Long periods sitting can increase the risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Reduced circulation may also add to issues, like varicose veins. Especially if these run in your family or you already have them, as most varicose veins are hereditary. Wearing medical-grade compression socks helps improve blood flow and, just like it’s common to wear them on airplanes, they are effective for any long-term sitting or travel. Again, regular exercise or stretching during breaks will help improve circulation and also reduce muscle stiffness.
And your heart?
There may also be an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, like heart disease from long times sitting while driving. This is more because of irregular meal times, poor diet choices on the road and stress, as well as any hereditary or other heart-related issues. Other issues might include high blood pressure or high cholesterol. As well, lack of exercise and eating unhealthy food may mean you gain weight and this adds risk to your overall health, including your heart.
Other things you can do to help your back and general health
Give up smoking or vaping. Both of these are linked to many illnesses and conditions.
Drink plenty of water. Ditch the soft drinks and look for healthy food options while on the road. Replace donuts, cakes and high sugar foods with fruit, like an apple, banana or kiwifruit. Try to bring homemade food or leftover snacks, which means you’ll be less tempted by unhealthy, takeaway food on the road. Try to make sure your homemade food is healthy, though. Go for less deep fried food, cut down on sugar and add in more fresh or frozen vegetables.
Be aware of any changes in your health and wellbeing and get on top of any issues early.