Focus on Driver Health: 4 Tips to Minimize Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

Your delivery drivers have a lot to contend with on the road each day. Heavy traffic, unexpected construction, bad weather—all of these can make for a stressful day behind the wheel. However, one of the most common challenges FedEx drivers face is ongoing pain and discomfort, especially in the back, neck, and shoulders.

What causes pain in delivery drivers?

Several things can cause your FedEx drivers to experience pain and discomfort on the job, the first of which is loading and unloading packages from the truck, trailer, or step van. Doing so involves a good amount of pushing, pulling, lifting, and bending that, when repeated over and over again, puts added strain on the muscles and joints.

Another (perhaps less obvious) cause of back, neck, and shoulder pain among truck drivers is sitting for long periods of time. You might think sitting down for a large portion of the day should be as comfortable as it gets, but staying sedentary for long periods of time causes the body to slump or slouch. This not only puts added pressure on the spine, but it over-stretches the neck and chest muscles and may cause headaches, neck and shoulder pain, fatigue, poor circulation, and more.

Finally, linehaul drivers must deal with the constant vibration of the vehicle on the road, especially on long stretches of highway. Not only has whole-body vibration (WBV) been linked to increased fatigue and sleepiness in long-distance truck drivers, but it can also lead to pain in the back, neck, arms, and legs.

These 4 simple tips can help minimize aches and pain in drivers.

Your drivers are the lifeblood of your FedEx route business. Take a moment to review these helpful tips to keep them safe, healthy, and comfortable on the road—especially during the peak holiday delivery season.

  • Talk to them about posture. Learning about proper driving posture can go a long way toward improving comfort on the road. When sitting in the driver’s seat, encourage them to keep their backs straight, shoulders back, and avoid slouching. Their lower back and buttocks should be touching the back of the seat, and they should adjust their seat position as necessary to ensure their arms can comfortably reach the steering wheel.
  • Provide the proper support. A simple way to ensure driver comfort is to provide things like pressure relief pads (which go beneath the buttocks and upper legs) and lumbar support cushions that fit behind the back and shoulders. Supportive back braces that fit around the waist or cover the back and shoulders can also help alleviate discomfort when lifting and moving larger parcels.
  • Encourage stretch breaks. Drivers typically take breaks on the road to gas up, get supplies, or grab something to eat. When they do, encourage them to take 10-15 minutes to perform a few simple stretching exercises that will help to minimize pain and stiffness during the day. A great place to start is Mother Trucker Yoga on YouTube. Her videos provide simple stretches and exercises that drivers can do at home, at the gas station, and even in the driver’s seat to stay comfortable.
  • Keep them prepared. Even with all the right preparations, pain and discomfort can happen. Make sure your drivers hit the road with everything they need to address back, neck, and shoulder pain so they can do their job without distraction. Medicated patches, over-the-counter pain relief meds, heating pads, and ice packs are all quick and easy ways to get relief while on the road.

For additional tips and information about building and maintaining a strong driving team, bookmark the KR Capital blog. As the leading FedEx brokerage firm in the country, we have worked with hundreds of contractors nationwide to help them buy and sell FedEx routes for a premium price. Contact KR Capital today to learn more.