Shoulder injuries are the second most common work-related injury for a commercial truck driver. Although back injuries are more prevalent in this profession, shoulder injuries are often costlier and require more time missed from work due to longer recovery periods and more extensive therapies. According to the recent Shoulder Injuries in Commercial Truck Drivers study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, very little is known about this type of common injury.
Researchers found a wealth of information available on the nature and treatment of shoulder injuries affecting those in the nursing, construction, and electrical industries, yet there is virtually no evidence of research into shoulder injuries directly related to truck drivers. While the recent University of Alabama study aimed to examine the types of shoulder injuries caused by driving, it also wanted to find out what led to this type of injury and why the cost of treatment and recovery periods were so extensive.
The study found that there is a common misconception among healthcare providers that truck drivers spend most of their time sitting behind the wheel. While this may be the case for most long-haul drivers, almost all truck drivers are required to perform a host of physically strenuous tasks as part of their daily job functions.
The sheer act of climbing in and out of the truck’s cab requires a great deal of upper body strength. Drivers are constantly working with heavy tarps, chains, and straps as they secure their loads. Loading and unloading of heavy boxes and equipment takes a great toll on the upper arms and shoulders. These repetitive motions frequently result in severe tears of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the shoulders and rotator cuff injuries.
The study also indicated that treating shoulder injuries is often more complicated than treating a back injury. The shoulder is comprised of many different musculoskeletal components. Injuries to the shoulder joint, shoulder blade, and rotator cuff often require surgery to repair damage. Long periods of pain management and physical therapy are frequently required to regain strength before the injured worker can return to their job.
More research is required to fully determine how best to approach the treatment of shoulder injuries directly related to truck driving. Those involved with the recent study are hopeful that their findings will lead to further investigations to determine how shoulder injuries directly related to truck driving can be prevented through strengthening exercises and ergonomic innovations.
If you are a truck driver that has been injured on the job, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. The experienced team of York County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden are dedicated to helping you claim the maximum amount of compensation available. Call us at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our six South Carolina office locations serve clients throughout the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.