Truck drivers in New Jersey and around the country are more likely to miss work because of a job-related injury than people employed in other fields, and it is often shoulder ailments that prevent them from getting behind the wheel and earning a living. Back problems are even more common among truck drivers, but shoulder injuries require more sophisticated medical treatment and keep them off the road for longer. Truck drivers are especially susceptible to shoulder injuries because steering commercial vehicles and loading and unloading cargo involves performing a lot of repetitive actions.
This repetitive movement can lead to chronic inflammation in shoulder muscles, tendons and ligaments, and the pain this inflammation causes can be severe. Workplace safety experts call this ailment trucker shoulder, and it should be treated promptly as the possible consequences of ignoring the condition range from labral and rotator cuff tears to shoulder impingement and dislocation. Commercial vehicle drivers who wish to avoid trucker shoulder workers’ compensation claims should eat whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and use proper form during loading and unloading procedures.
Cargo cranking study
To determine the best way to complete these operations, researchers from North Carolina State University and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries observed 12 truck drivers as they used cranks to raise and lower trailers. The researchers discovered that truck drivers could protect their shoulders best when raising trailers by taking a parallel position and using a technique called sagittal cranking. Cranking while standing directly in front of the trailer does not allow other muscles to help the shoulders, so this approach should only be taken when cargo is being lowered and the body is fighting against less resistance.
Resources for injured workers
Even truck drivers who take great care and use proper form when loading or unloading cargo will probably suffer some kind of shoulder injury sooner or later. When workplace accidents happen, workers’ compensation programs ensure injured employees have the resources they need to pay their medical bills and meet their other financial obligations.