Chronic back pain and acute back injuries cause serious disability for truck drivers. According to data from the National Safety Council, more than 21% of those in this profession experience chronic back or neck pain.

If you drive a truck for a living, try these strategies to keep your spine healthy and prevent a debilitating workplace injury.

Use an ergonomic seat cushion

 Because drivers often spend long days hunched over the steering wheel, maintaining correct posture can reduce the discomfort associated with this position. An ergonomic seat cushion provides comfort and support where you need it most on a long haul, keeping your arms, neck and back in a safe, healthy posture. Adjust your position at least once an hour to avoid fatigue.

Position yourself correctly

 When you are properly seated at the wheel, you should be able to comfortably reach it with both hands. Your back, neck and head should all make contact with the back of your seat. Your feet should be able to reach the pedals without stretching or straining to do so.

 Alternate ice and heat

 Applying an ice pack to the affected area, either while you’re driving or after work, can reduce swelling and tissue damage and alleviate associated pain. Try alternating 20 minutes with ice followed by 20 minutes with a heating pad.

Stretch your muscles

 When you stop to rest, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles and joints. Try walking a few laps while maintaining straight posture, doing simple torso stretches or touching your toes, then stretching arms toward the sky. Make time to move your body at least twice a day to avoid the effects of remaining in a static seated position.

When these measures fail to relieve back or neck pain, see a health care provider. Over time, stress to the muscles, joints and nerves in this area can worsen injuries if you do not receive proper medical treatment.