Lower back pain is one of the top medical complaints in the United States. It is estimated that there are over 2 million episodes of lower back pain in the US every year. Lower back pain accounts for over 3% of all emergency room visits. Back pain can occur from a wide range of causes, like injuries, herniated discs, obesity, and sitting for too long.
As truck drivers you spend a majority of your life sitting. Sitting for long periods of time can shorten your hamstring and iliopsoas (hip flexor) muscles, which can cause strain on the lower back. Obese Americans are four times more likely to develop lower back pain so losing weight can help relieve back pain too. If you’re having chronic back pain it is advised to seek immediate medical attention because you could have a more serious medical condition causing the pain.
While there are no overnight quick fixes for lower back pain, weight loss, exercise, and stretching can help relieve lower back pain. After sitting at the wheel for hours on end, it is important that you get up, walk around, and stretch those muscles. As with any new exercise regimen, make sure you check with your healthcare provider before starting.
Also Read: 4 Ways to Reduce Truck Driver Neck Pain
5 Stretches That Can Help You Relieve Back Pain
Supine Hamstring Stretch
You’ll need a strap or a rolled up towel for this stretch. Lie on your back and bend your right knee into your chest with the left leg lying straight on the ground. Place the strap or towel around the ball of your right foot. Slowly straighten your right leg towards the ceiling. Press through both heels. If you feel any strain in the lower back, bend your left leg and place your foot on the floor. Hold for about 3 minutes and then switch to your left legs.
Lie on your back and bend both knees into your chest. Place your arms out in a “T” on the ground. Exhale slowly and lower your knees to the ground on the right. As you lower your knees, keep both shoulders pressed down into the ground firmly. If the opposite shoulder lifts slightly, lower your knees a little further away from your right arm. Hold for 1-2 minutes on each side.
The Figure 4 Stretch
Lie on your back and bend both knees with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your right knee like a figure four by lifting your outer left ankle and placing it on the top of the right thigh. Lift the left foot into the air and bring your left calf parallel to the ground. Thread your hands through your legs and grab the back of your left leg. Hold the stretch for about 2-3 minutes on each leg.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on the floor. You might want to use a yoga mat or towel under your knee for added comfort on the floor. Bring your right foot forward and lunge. Position your right foot beyond your right knee. Place your hands on your knee. Straighten your left hip by pushing your hips forward. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat with the opposite side.
Pigeon is a yoga pose and a more advanced stretch. From all fours, bring your right knee behind your right wrist with your lower leg at a diagonal towards your left hip. Square your hips to the floor and bend forward. Reach your hands above your head on the ground or rest your head on your forearms. Hold the stretch for 2-3 minutes on each side and then switch sides.
Unfortunately lower back pain is common amongst the United States adult population. Most of our lives are sedentary, and this is especially true for truck drivers who spend countless hours sitting at the wheel of their truck. While the above stretches can certainly help relieve back pain, it is important to exercise, eat nutritious foods, and maintain a healthy weight. And, if you have chronic back pain, make sure you seek out proper medical attention.
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