For American truckers, the hours pass slowly into days as the road stretches out in front of their vehicle’s hood. Long hours in cramped conditions puts these individuals at risk for motor vehicle accidents, but the dangers don’t end there. Between extended periods sitting in one position to unloading heavy cargo, trucking is very hard on the body. Many truckers will end up filing a workers’ compensation claim at some point in their careers. One common injury for this industry is musculoskeletal pain.
What is musculoskeletal pain?
As the name indicates, musculoskeletal pain affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. Truckers most commonly experience this pain in the back, neck or legs due to their work conditions or personal habits. Bad posture, repetitive movements, strain from lifting heavy objects and prolonged sitting can all cause a musculoskeletal issue. In addition to pain, those who struggle with musculoskeletal problems may feel exhausted from fatigue or develop trouble sleeping. These symptoms are problematic as driving while tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence.
What factors make you more susceptible to this kind of pain?
Studies indicate there are physical factors that make people more susceptible to musculoskeletal pain.
- People who are either taller or shorter than average have a higher risk. Vehicle manufacturers create car seats for a person with average height, which means anyone outside the average will likely experience strain due to things like insufficient room for their legs or, conversely, too much.
- Weight or body mass index also matters. Obesity and musculoskeletal pain seem to be linked. Overweight drivers generally feel more discomfort in general while in the car, and someone who spends days on end in a seat designed for a smaller body is at high risk for a chronic issue.
- Age is a contributing factor in that seniority equates with more health issues in general. Bodies become more fragile as individuals age, making it easier to develop pain conditions. The stereotype of the aging individual with a bad back is usually true to life.
- Gender is less of a factor, but the study indicates that women may be more susceptible simply because they typically have smaller frames. Again, designers make car seats for the average human—not the average woman.
What should you do if you experience musculoskeletal pain?
As this pain will only worsen with time, see a doctor and get help immediately. Your next step may be to consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. Keep in mind that there are time limits on when you can file a claim, so don’t wait if it becomes necessary.
No one should have to suffer pain as a result of their job, and there are protections in place to compensate you for any discomfort or inconvenience caused.