Truck driving is a risky job, and not only because of the crazy four-wheelers on the road. Prolonged periods of sitting, limited time to exercise, poor diet, and difficulty sleeping in the cab are reasons that truck drivers are specifically at risk of health problems.
In addition to these conditions, truckers deal with bumpy roads and the everyday stress of the job. It’s no surprise then that a new study showed that 60% of Canadian truck drivers suffer from MSDs, a number that is also consistent with studies performed with US truck drivers.
What Are MSDs?
MSD stands for musculoskeletal disorders. As the name implies, these disorders cause pain in the muscles, tendons, and bones.
According to WebMD:
“Changes in posture or poor body mechanics may bring about spinal alignment problems and muscle shortening, therefore causing other muscles to be misused and become painful.”
In addition to posture, these problems can be caused by specific traumatic events and the everyday wearing down of your body. Overweight or obese people are also at a heightened risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
MSDs are an occupational risk for many workers, and this is especially true for truck drivers, who sit in the cab all day. Flatbed workers who regularly have to tarp their loads can be susceptible to musculoskeletal pain or injury.
Truck Driver Symptoms of MSDs
Truck drivers often report having back pain. But pain isn’t the only symptom. The feeling in your muscles may be a burning sensation, and your muscles may twitch as well.
Combined with the irregular sleep habits of truck drivers, MSDs can put truckers at specific risk of fatigue or even falling asleep on the road.
MSDs may be more irritating than debilitating, but truck drivers shouldn’t overlook this problem.
What Should Truck Drivers Do About MSDs?
First, truck drivers should get a proper diagnosis. Most truck drivers hate getting off the road. They make money when they’re driving, and when they’re not driving, they’re not earning. But in order to get this problem resolved, it’s best to see a doctor.
Your doctor will likely perform a physical and may go through additional testing.
After that, you may have several options, depending on the type, severity, and location of your pain. Some doctors recommend physical therapy while others will likely prescribe medication (such as anti-inflammatories).
What Can Truck Drivers Do to Prevent Pain?
If you don’t suffer from MSDs, you’re not completely out of the woods. Truck drivers should take the proper preventative measures to make sure this type of pain never takes them off the road.
Regular exercise, proper diet, and especially close monitoring of posture are all preventative tools that will help keep drivers pain-free and driving all day long.