Commercial drivers can have a physically stressful career. Regular chiropractic care can help these professionals maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Commercial Driving Risks
Commercial drivers include local and long-haul truckers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, limousine operators, garbage truck workers, and delivery personnel. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), “truck drivers are consistently near the top…of professionals who take the most time away from work due to injury”. Commercial driving jobs have many potential issues that can damage the body, including prolonged sitting, entering or exiting the vehicle frequently, whole-body vibration, rapid temperature changes, poor illumination that causes headaches and eyestrain, and lifting and moving cargo. For those who live their “life on the road”, certain habits contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. Dehydration, lack of exercise, irregular sleep, and poor nutrition are also risk factors.1
Some chiropractors are qualified to give Department of Transportation (DOT)/Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) physicals. Dr. Eric Carson, Dr. John Hosten, and Dr. Joshua Lederman, of Carson Chiropractic, are qualified as FMCSA National Registry Certified Medical Examiners, for example. They can discuss certain medical conditions with patients, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Managing blood pressure and blood sugar are critical to passing a DOT physical. There are other conditions that are also important to the DOT, such as poor vision, limb impairment, heart and respiratory problems, mental disorders, epilepsy, and drug and alcohol abuse.2 Chiropractors can assist patients with the musculoskeletal problems that come with the long hours of driving or cargo handling. They can give ergonomic advice to patients, such as making sure the knees are not higher than the hips and that the back of the knee doesn’t touch the front of the seat. Sitting with a proper posture is important so that neck strain is reduced and blood flow is improved. Drivers need to be able to reach the pedals and see the mirrors without twisting the back, and they should have proper lumbar support. Gel cushioning can reduce vibration on the seat. The elbows should be close to the side of the body when reaching the steering wheel, and the wheel shouldn’t be gripped too tightly. Chiropractors can teach patients stretches and exercises that fit into their lifestyle, they give nutritional and dietary advice, and they can perform adjustments to keep the commercial drivers in alignment, helping to prevent injury. Truck driving doesn’t have to be a “back-breaking” profession.3
1, 3 http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=3386
Find out more information about chiropractic care and ergonomics.