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Q

I work as a delivery driver. Many of my co-workers suffer from chronic shoulder and back pain. What can I do to prevent pain related to on-the-job driving?

A

The body is meant to move. When you spend most of your day in the same position, your muscles can become tired and achy. The pain can intensify if that position is awkward, or if other factors, like excessive vibration, are also putting strain on the body.

Driving for hours at a time can put intense strain on the muscles. This can lead to a repetitive stress injury. While these types of injuries are common among drivers, they are not inevitable. These tips can help drivers reduce the risk of shoulder, neck and back pain.

  1. If possible, opt for an automatic vehicle. Automatic transmissions put less stress on the back because you are not constantly using your clutch.
  2. Adjust your seat. The seat should be positioned to support your thighs and back while allowing you to comfortably reach the pedals.
  3. Don’t tilt your seat back. This can cause your body to slump forward. Adjust the back of your seat to a 5 to 10 degree angle.
  4. Adjust your steering wheel. Your arms should be outstretched, with a slight bend at elbows. Your hands should be at the 4:00 and 8:00 o’clock positions on the wheel.
  5. Use a lumbar support. If your vehicle doesn’t have built-in lumbar support, you can purchase a separate support for your lower back. You can also use a small pillow or rolled up towel.
  6. Watch your posture. Slumping can cause back pain. Practice readjusting your posture; it will take time to make good posture a habit. Any exercise that strengthens your abs and back will help.
  7. Take breaks. Move around whenever possible.
  8. Relax. Stress causes your body to tense up so it is more prone to injury.

 

If you do suffer a repetitive motion injury, don’t wait to see a doctor. The sooner you are treated, the sooner the pain will go away.

Repetitive motion injuries are covered by Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation. However, it may be hard to prove that your injuries are work-related. If your employer won’t cover your injury, you may need the help of attorney. Please call the experienced team at Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C. Ask to schedule a free consultation; we’ll let you know if you have a case.