Truck driving is a mechanical job in every sense — from shifting gears and maintaining your rig to pulling tarps and lifting freight. Sure, you spend plenty of hours sitting comfortably in a cab, but even this gives rise to some of the most common truck driver injuries. Similar to most occupational and workplace hazards, repetition is something that creates issues down the line. Whether you’re driving locally or crossing several states on a daily basis, preventing these common risks of injury is very important!
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Avoiding Common Truck Driver Injuries
Maybe you’re relatively young and still quite fit — even you need to remain conscientious of common truck driver injuries! Each year, 500,000 tractor-trailer accidents occur and 75 percent of these are caused by drivers in passenger vehicles. Even though your driving skills are impeccable, it doesn’t mean that you’re invincible. Still, sometimes there is nothing to be done about unfortunate accidents. If nothing else, the goal is to prevent what common truck driver injuries you can in order to sustain your career!
As we grow older it can be surprising just what simple movements have injury-causing potentials. The constant shifting of gears, opening and closing doors, climbing in and out of the cab, and dealing with your trailer are all ways drivers sustain injuries. Additionally, even just bending over to tie your shoe or twisting your shoulders the wrong way are ways truckers can suffer muscular and skeletal injuries.
The most common truck driver injuries include those sustained in the neck, shoulders, and back. After performing relatively stationary tasks like driving (paradoxical I know), bursts of strenuous activity increase the possibility of injuries. Even just the vibration and bouncing of a truck’s seat create issues for one’s neck, shoulders, and back over time. Considering that many drivers work five to seven days a week and anywhere from eight to 10 hours a day, there is plenty of time for these injuries to occur.
Here’s a list of common truck driver injuries:
- Tendonitis – A result of straining, twisting, or turning improperly, causing microscopic damage to tendons in the neck, shoulders, and other joints. Results in sharp pains and inflammation.
- Bursitis – Bursa sacs help muscles articulate with bone, providing fluids to keep joints working correctly. When these become inflamed, the result is pain and a reduction in one’s range of movement.
- Arthritis – Repetitive actions have the potential to exacerbate common conditions such as arthritis, making this another issue for truckers’ health.
Ways to Prevent Common Truck Driver Injuries
Although truck drivers aren’t exactly professional athletes, they can still approach their daily activities and movements in a similar way! Since many injuries are caused by sudden movements and unprepared muscles and joints, take time to warm up if you know you’ll be doing some heavy lifting. Similarly, if you know you’ll be sitting for a while, it won’t hurt to stretch and even do some light cardio.
For joints like the shoulders, consider using resistance bands to strengthen your joints and keep your muscles flexible. Additionally, try to stay mindful of your posture when sitting for long periods of time. If you do start to feel irritation in your shoulder joints, neck, or back, be sure to consult a doctor.
Overall, it’s important to remember the proper procedures for lifting objects and dealing with heavy machinery. Always lift with your legs and don’t force your muscles to do what they may not be capable of. Also, use a back brace if needed, wear work gloves, and ask for help or supervision if possible! Even if you don’t sustain a serious injury at one time, repetitive physical actions create wear and tear. Just remember it’s perfectly acceptable to seek treatment rather than powering through the pain!
What are your experiences with common truck driver injuries? Share your thoughts in the comments below!