Total Health

How can Chiropractic help truck drivers?

July 21st, 2021 by
Category: Back pain Chiropractic Care Neck pain Spinal Health

Multiple trucks lined up on side of the road

One of the most common problems truck drivers at our practice in Geelong come in with is low back pain and neck pain. There are many reasons for this, and I’d like to address a few of them which may help some truckies stay on the road comfortably.

Firstly, what conditions commonly affect truck drivers and how are they caused?

The experience of driving a truck can be varied, depending on what type of truck you’re driving, how old the vehicle is, the position of the seat and steering wheel, the transmission (manual or automatic) and the distance you are driving. Commonly, musculoskeletal conditions affecting truck drivers occur as a combination of poor driving posture and/or a problem in one of these areas.

Larger trucks or newer trucks often have shock-mitigating suspension seats, or air seats. These, if properly maintained, greatly reduce the bounce and shock that happens through the body when driving a truck. Without proper maintenance, these seats can lose their shock absorbing properties and begin jarring the spine on bumpy roads. This jarring may lead to an excess amount of force through the spine, and potentially lead to conditions such as degenerative joint disease or disc prolapse. 

Seat type and position can have a very big effect on your spine, since the seat of the truck will affect your posture. Some seats have a more concave shape at the lumbar area, which offers little to no support. This may lead to increased stiffness and pain in the lumbar spine. Some seats have a poor backing angle, especially if they are older. This can poorly affect your posture, particularly in the lower area of the neck and the upper back. 

Automatic trucks lack a clutch and do not require manual gear shifting. This removes stress from the left arm and wrist, and places less stress on the left knee. Less stress on these joints means a reduced chance of developing conditions such as repetitive strain injury and osteoarthritis

How can Chiropractic help truck drivers?

As Chiropractors, we aim to restore and maintain good posture and spinal mobility. Many truck drivers come to our practice for the management of pain caused by driving, and we commonly find the conditions above. 

Some of the Chiropractic techniques we use on truck drivers include: 

  • Diversified manual adjustments: These adjustments involve a short, fast and gentle push on joints which are stiff. A ‘pop’ sound often accompanies these adjustments and they can provide relief from the pain caused by truck driving.
  • Joint mobilisation: We often use mobilisation techniques to increase movement in joints which are too sensitive or painful to perform adjustments on. Mobilisations are especially useful in the low back when working with truck drivers, since adjustments can be difficult to perform once the spine loses enough movement.
  • Soft tissue techniques: If the muscles around the spine are tight and painful, we have the option of using soft tissue release techniques to loosen them. This can be very useful to do before an adjustment, as often the muscles around the spine can be tight enough to make adjustments difficult.
  • Exercises for inside the truck: This may sound difficult, however our Chiropractors are familiar with a wide range of exercises and stretches which are both safe to perform while driving, and beneficial for painful conditions caused by driving trucks. We discourage performing exercises which are dynamic in nature, or involve movements which may be hazardous while driving, and recommend these are completed while pulled over.

In summary, truck drivers often experience a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions because of the nature of the job. Chiropractors aim to provide an accurate diagnosis and management plan to keep truck drivers driving safely and comfortably. If you aren’t sure whether you should make an appointment, call our office and speak to one of our team members.

By Dr. Beau Kenihan (Chiropractor)


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