After years of driving, most truck drivers in New York develop a condition known in layman’s terms as “trucker’s shoulder.” This is basically a pain in the entire arm, fingers, shoulders and neck region. Fortunately, they are measures one can take to prevent or correct the damage caused.
Truck driver shoulder injuries
According to research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70,000 truck drivers experience shoulder injuries yearly. Of those, 20,000 require time off from work to recover. Most of the shoulder injuries they experience occur from the heavy lifting required in the job, like when changing a tire or moving cargo. Also, the constant turning of the steering wheels and changing gears can cause repetitive strain injuries (RSI) to the shoulder muscles and tendons.
Common types of injuries that occur
The most common type of injury is rotator cuff tendinitis or the inflammation of the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. There’s also the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, muscles and tendons (bursitis). In some circumstances, a truck driver can develop carpal tunnel syndrome, the compression of the median nerve responsible for the sensation in your palms and fingers.
What to do when injured in New York
The law requires all employers in New York to cover their employees with a workers’ compensation insurance policy. Meaning if you are injured on the job, your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages will be covered. And you do not need to prove who was responsible for the injury because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.
Preventing injuries before they happen
Truck drivers can prevent shoulder injuries from happening by:
1. Ensuring their seat is adjusted well, so they are not reaching too far forward when turning the steering wheel
2. Taking regular breaks to stretch their muscles and give their body a break from the constant movement
3. Using proper lifting techniques when moving cargo to avoid putting too much strain on their muscles
4. Making use of tools like forklifts and carts when loading or offloading cargo
Shoulder injuries can limit the range of motion in the shoulder and cause numbness or a tingling sensation in the wrist, hand and fingers. Not to mention the excruciating pain that comes with it. Being aware of the steps to take to minimize your chances of developing a “trucker’s shoulder” could help you avoid a condition that sometimes lasts a lifetime.