Driving You Crazy: How Driving Causes Back Pain

portrait of a taxi driver with cabTaxi drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers and delivery drivers all have something in common besides sitting in moving vehicles all day — they all are at risk for increased back pain and injury. Jobs that involve driving are among the top jobs that cause back pain according to the American Chiropractic Association. A recent study of San Francisco taxi drivers published in the Journal of Urban Health describes them at risk for stress, body pain, danger and unhealthy working conditions. Taxi drivers said they experience back pain from non-supportive seating, sitting on wallets while driving, loading and unloading luggage and sitting for long periods of time daily.

Exercise helps alleviate and prevent back pain from sitting and driving all day. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests specific exercises to increase back strength and protect against pain and injury, including partial sit-ups, pelvic tilt, and stretching lower back muscles.

Truck Drivers and Lower Back Pain

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that sitting puts the most pressure on the lower back and spine and fatigues muscles and bones in the back. Long periods of sitting that truck drivers endure cause back discomfort, pain, and injuries such as muscle strains and ruptured discs. In a study by New Jersey’s Science & Technology University, Stephen J. Benstowe describes long driving hours and whole-body vibration as risk factors. Benstowe reports that truck drivers are at risk for musculoskeletal disorders, hypertension, obesity, heart disease, stroke and psychological stress.

Exercises for Back Health

Laser Spine Institute, a company that has been helping patients with back and neck pain since 2005, features research on the benefits of minimally invasive surgeries and low-impact aerobic exercises such as yoga. Yoga and stretching exercises are both recommended ways for those with back pain to strengthen and protect their backs. In addition, some specific exercises help with back health:

  • Partial Sit-ups – partial sit-ups, or crunches, performed by raising the shoulders while laying flat with knees bent, strengthen the muscles in the abdomen.

  • Pelvic Tilt – tightening glutes and abdomen and pressing the lower back to the floor while laying flat with knees bent loosens and refreshes tight and fatigued lower back muscles.

  • Stretching Lower Back Muscles – stretches while laying flat with knees bent and pulling knees in to chest or rolling knees to the left and right relieve and strengthen sore back muscles.

Treatments for Back Pain

Exercise is the easiest and most economical treatment for back pain and mobility problems caused by extended sitting, muscle fatigue and mobility problems that stem from stiffness and soreness. But when exercise alone doesn’t relieve or eliminate back pain, other treatment options from professionals such as surgery specialists, chiropractors, alternative medicine practitioners or medical doctors may be required. Acupuncture, massage, heat therapy, spinal manipulation and electrical stimulation are common alternative treatments for back pain. Surgical treatments for back pain include diskectomy to removed painful diseased or damaged discs, laminectomy to remove bone spurs in the back, and spinal fusion to fuse and strengthen bones in the back causing pain and mobility problems.

Author:  Mary Pettaway

Mary is a health-conscious blogger from Texas.

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