Health issues of OTR truck drivers

Day before yesterday Joe strained his right knee getting out of his truck. He is gimping around like Chester of the old Gunsmoke television show.

I keep a supply of various heat wraps by Therma-Care always at hand for his many arthritic aches and pains. The knee and elbow wraps came out of our suitcase pockets.

With our sedentary life style I thought a bit of research into health issues of truck drivers might be something to look into.

After reading the horror stories, using Google as a search platform, I have come to the conclusion that Joe and I number among the very few lucky ones.

Why are we so lucky? Because Dr. appointments are made a priority and we schedule our work around them. Some appointments get pushed back occasionally but we do get in to see the doctors.

Yes, Joe and I are both considered obese. Joe has high blood pressure, which he takes medicine daily for. Walgreens and Wal-Mart have nation wide stores that have all of Joe’s prescriptions on file and he can have access to refills any where we travel.

Joe has a machine for his sleep apnea that goes with us everywhere and is plugged in at hotels each night.

We have the advantage of getting around in small places, such as Walgreens Pharmacy because of our pickup after we deliver.

The majority, about 95% of truck drivers on the roads and highways of America don’t have this luxury.

We are not under constant pressure from dispatchers to stay moving with no time off as the regular OTR drivers are forced to contend with.

Truck stop food is another matter all together. While a number of them have salad bars laden with vegetables the rest of the food fare is deep fried or swimming in sauces.

The word “Buffet” took on a totally different spin as I read one article in my research. “Big-Ugly-Fat-Fellows-Eating-Together” which is, unfortunately, appropriate.

Time and again we see mostly men with severely swollen calves and ankles that are an unsightly purple with vicious looking red streaks running up the back of the knee.

This is caused, not only from the bad eating habits of us drivers, from the constant hours in the seat in one position for hours on end. A 500 mile day means 10 hours in the seat.

Another complication of being a truck driver is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from holding our hands and fingers in the same position for as many hours as we sit.

Joe and I tell each other “This time we are going to walk a half hour at night before we go to bed”. That lasts only one time. The next night, and the next, we are so tired and lethargic from the days driving to do nothing more than flop in the hotel room.

Love’s Travel Centers, where we do most of our fuel and stopping business, have added fresh fruit cups chilled in ice for snacking on the road. Petro Truck Stops have a salad bar like no other on the road. Packed with fresh fruit and vegetables to give the driver better choices in food.

From my personal experience out on the road breakfast is usually passed on until around 11 in the morning then eaten at a truck stop offering fried foods, burgers, and little in the way of healthy foods. A quick stop later in the afternoon for a bag of chips or a small pack of chocolate donuts then either a late dinner at another truck stop or none at all.

We are guilty of not eating healthy and getting no exercise. The little we do get is in hooking and unhooking our trucks.

I think a change is in order before we become one of the statistics.

I’ll start today with a walk across the street from this hotel to the truck stop for breakfast.


About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

4 responses to “Health issues of OTR truck drivers

  • gardenpinks

    Sounds horrific doesn’t it? We have noticed that many farmers and others getting on and off heavy machines and spending hours in the seat end up needing hip replacement operations. We can only think it is because of the constant climbing in and out of high vehicles.
    I was thinking today that since Katie, our dog, died three weeks ago I hardly go for walks now and even before she was put to sleep by the vet she was not up to walking much or very far and I must make myself go walkabouts or I shall freeze up. The weather isn’t helping at the moment – there’s no fun in going for a walk in the rain!
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      Your Katie :-). I’m glad to see she still has a place on your blog.

      It is partly the high stepping to get in and out of the machines, the rest is the hours and hours of sitting and bouncing.

      I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered, nor seen, an obese farmer working fields in spring and fall. They are busy walking all the time.

      However I do see extremely huge truck drivers and I wonder how they not only manage getting in and out of trucks but how they fit behind the steering wheel!

      It is good to know you are getting rain. Soon enough it will stop. You stay well my friend.

      Love you – Leslie

  • Maureen Mathis

    Therma Care Heat Wraps and Leslie in the SAME ROOM?!!! RUN JOE RUN!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!! RUN FOR THE LIFE OF YOUR SKIN!!!!!

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