Being in pain is no fun, especially if you’re a tow truck driver and your back is killing you. Many truck drivers experience back pain because of the demands of the job – sitting for hours, experiencing the movement and jolting of being on the road, and getting in and out of the truck. Tow truck drivers often have to lift or push heavy loads, which can strain the complex network of vertebrae, muscles, discs, nerves, and joints that make up the back. We’ve talked before about the benefits of tow truck ergonomics, but back pain is so prevalent that it’s important to make it a focus.
To help you avoid the battle of lower back pain, we’ve got a few tips to prevent it.
1. Adjust your seat to encourage good posture.
Slouching can have some major consequences. It’s important to adjust the truck seat so you can comfortably reach the pedals and steering wheel.
Here’s our checklist:
- Back of the knee should not be pressing against the edge of the seat (One inch over the edge of the seat)
- Entire back should touch the seat
- Ensure that your feet can easily reach the pedals
- Steering wheel should be comfortable to reach out and hold (You should not have to strain and your arms should be at a slight angle)
Poor posture can, over time, cause the discs in your back to shift out of their proper spots. That just sounds painful – and it is. By adjusting your seat, you can make it natural and comfortable to sit with good posture.
2. Check your mirrors.
You shouldn’t have to strain or move awkwardly to see your mirrors clearly. This can hurt your neck and back. Be sure to check your mirrors before you set out on each trip – you shouldn’t have to stretch to see your mirrors.
3. Be careful when lifting.
You might not even notice how many heavy things you have to lift in a day, but the exertion of lifting, carrying, and pushing various car-related objects takes its toll. Especially since oftentimes you’re lifting or pushing at awkward angles in less than ideal circumstances.
Lifting is also problematic for tow truck drivers because there’s often a period of time when you’re sitting still right before you have to lift or work. Discs are very vulnerable when you’re lifting, so it’s important to use your legs (not your back and arms.) You can do this by keeping your elbows close to your body – that will keep you from putting all the weight on your arms and spine.
4. Stretch and take breaks.
Be sure to stretch regularly. Gently stretching your muscles can help release some of the tension that builds up over time. Take it easy – don’t overly strain your muscles as you try to stretch. It’s also important to take regular breaks and move around.
If you make an effort to do light exercise when you can, it might help the muscles in your back feel happier. Again, don’t overdo it or push yourself too hard. Exercise will help make back muscles and core muscles get stronger – which can help you avoid pain when you’re driving.
6. Make changes to how you’re sitting.
Make adjustments to the way you’re sitting in the driver’s seat every once in a while. It can help to shift your weight or just change up how you’re sitting.
7. Eat well and stay hydrated.
It’s amazing how diet can help us feel better. Eating healthy can help your body heal more effectively, and maintaining a healthy weight can help truck drivers avoid back pain.
Staying hydrated can also help your body. To stay healthy and avoid pain, it’s important to take in plenty of water during the day. A general rule of thumb is one cup of water for every hour on the road.
8. Adjust your grip on the steering wheel.
While you need to keep control of your vehicle, you might want to ease up a little on the steering wheel. Gripping the wheel too hard for a long time can cause you some discomfort. So, relax your grip a bit if needed.
We hope that the above tips will help you prevent back pain when you’re on the job with your wrecker or tow truck. Being comfortable will help you with being a defensive driver and avoid distractions and accidents.
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