Becoming a bus driver may seem like an easy option. There is less pressure than working in a warehouse or restaurant and fewer hazards than construction or manufacturing. Even better, there is a limit to how many hours you can work and you get to chat with people all day.
Yet, bus driving is not as idyllic as it might seem. Aside from the hazards that other road users pose and the occasional problematic passenger, sitting down all day can lead to long-term injury.
Sitting down all day can lead to back injuries
However much people talk about ways to improve ergonomics, you cannot escape the fact that humans evolved to stand and walk, not sit.
As a bus driver, you have limited opportunities to walk about. The few breaks you do get will be your only opportunity to eat — which entails more sitting.
The more time you spend sitting, the more likely back injuries will be
One survey of bus drivers found that reducing hours below 30 hours a week reduced lower back injuries by 60%. Yet doing so would require widespread system changes where bus drivers have a second job to make up lost earnings.
Taking advantage of opportunities to get out of your seat can help, as can performing stretches when stopped to load passengers or stationary in traffic. You could also take preventative or restorative actions during your spare time, such as Pilates, yoga or massage. Yet, none of this hides the fact that your job may cause you lasting damage. Taking time off and seeing a medic is essential at the first sign of pain. Continuing will only make it worse. Consider filing for workers’ compensation benefits to allow you to finance the rest and treatment you need.