I’m a chiropractor so what do I see every day? People in pain! Pain from lifting, pain from injuries but also pain that seems to come out of nowhere and won’t go away!
With most of us sitting for much of our workday at a computer, desk, in a car or driving a truck, we need to look at the cumulative effect of repetitive poor postures and movements as a cause of our problems.
In fact, 80% of us will endure some form of back injury interfering with our work, sport or family at some point in our life. Sorry to be a bummer! But rather than wait for a problem to occur, let’s look at some things we can do to reduce the chance of an injury happening, or at least reduce how much it affects us.
Number 1 is always Awareness. If we aren’t aware that our chair is lumpy and unsupportive, if we don’t know that we are lifting incorrectly, if we don’t understand that sitting in a slouched posture for 5 hours binge-watching our Netflix series is damaging our support structure (spine), then we will never take steps to correct it and we will never change the bad habits that create our problem. I recently had a patient tell me that when she catches her reflection in the windows of buildings she passes when walking downtown she “notices her bad posture like 50 times per day”. I told her “that’s great! Because you are aware now, you can correct your posture like 50 times per day!”
So when you catch yourself in the mirror hunched forward, straighten up! When you find yourself slouched in a chair or seat of your truck, tuck your butt back as far as it will go in the seat, sit upright with your head over your shoulders and keep your elbows as close to your ribcage as you can and your hands comfortably on the wheel (or keyboard). We can’t undo past postural issues but we can certainly improve on it moving forward.
Second, find and use 2-3 simple stretches or exercises to do once or a few times per day. These should only take a minute or two each, not require equipment or a change of clothes and are not meant to make you hot, sweaty or tired! Planks, squats without weight, doorway stretches, cat/camel stretch, push-ups, sit-ups, any yoga move…all great examples! Keep in mind, if they are not easy or fun then you won’t do them. If you drive or sit for extended periods then you’ll have to wait until you have the opportunity to get up and do them. Create the time and space to work on yourself!
Finally, invest in the things you sit or stand on most. I say invest because our shoes, our seats/chairs, our beds are indeed an investment in our health. If you stand or walk for long periods of time, get the best pair of shoes or boots you can and get some custom orthotics made so they fit you. If you sit all day, make sure the chair or seat fits you, don’t just try to fit the seat. Jot down the equipment and products you know would make your life easier and better. Your body will thank you!
Of course, if there is something in your spine, hips or pelvis that needs fixing, that must be addressed and I am qualified and happy to help with that. Reducing daily chronic pain, improving workspace environment and seeing people live healthier lives at work and at home are such passions of mine.
I love talking about it and helping people implement ideas. If you have questions or need help or direction, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
If you would like to speak with Dr. Barry, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you again for taking the time to listen, and I hope you have a safe day!