Leaving The Military

Topic 2599 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Charles S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Everyone! I have been lurking around here for the last few months and I thought it would be a nice time to finally introduce myself. I have been in the Air Force since 2003 and I am nearing the end of a long and difficult period of service. I am being medically separated due to lower and middle back pain due to stenosis and a few other contributing factors. My question is how difficult will it be for me to drive reefer or dry van with mild to severe pain daily? I can manage it with pain medication and I am worried that my meds may disqualify me from anything Class A, OTR. I have worked through the pain in the military for almost 4 years now and I think with minimal loading and unloading I can hack it. I just wanted to see if anyone currently driving can relate to my back issues and how it affects their driving. You guys are always super helpful and I look forward to anything you guys can shed more light on. Stay safe out there!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Woody's Comment
member avatar

First off let me say thank you for your service to our country.

As far as the back pain, does it bother you when you set for LONG periods of time or mainly when you are doing physical activities? Many of the trucking jobs will have very little work to do in the form of actually unloading a truck. But even those may still have some loads that you simply must handle.

The meds would be a big concern. I would first speak to my doctor and get his input. Do they make you the least bit drowsy? Obviously driving these rigs you must be fully alert at all times. I wouldn't know where to locate it but surely there is a list of drugs that may disqualify someone from obtaining a CDL. Hopefully another poster may have that info.

Woody

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Charles S.'s Comment
member avatar

I am generally okay with sitting for long periods, I am currently an NCOIC and there is alot of desk driving involved, but I absolutely HATE IT! I want to get out and live! Yes unfortunately they all make me drowsy shocked.png But I can manage most days without them. I am currently considering a spinal cord stimulator surgery that would more than likely take care of the pain. Oh and BTW just doing my part.. Thanks alot for your input every little bit of info helps me decide on what course of action to take. Stay safe out there!

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Charles...Thank You for your service.....you are appreciated more than you know. All prescription pain meds are usually class 4, which would not be allowed in the truck, or in you....So you will have to change to something else, or consider the surgery. Even tho you will be sitting, the angle that you will beat may not support your spine to well. So seat adjustments will have to be made to fit you. Also, there is the occasional hiding pothole, that will really pound you, so in your case, you will have to have some air in your seat, to insure that you don't "bottom out". Its happened to me...and it train wrecks your spine....hurts like heck... So if you can work around that stuff, clear a DOT physical (especially the one the company does)...you should be fine. But do not hide this physical condition from the company you go with...they may well work with you to keep you from unloading .

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Charles S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Star, I had a feeling that would be the case. I really appreciate the feedback. Do you also have fairly severe T or C spine issues? I only ask because being in pain all the time judging from your reply you also deal with it. How hard has it been for you personally? I am a fairly young 36 years young and unfortunately over 10 years of maintaining military aircraft being constantly contorted and twisted my back is shot. So at the crossroads now trucking seems like it would be a good fit for me. My wife and children are already used to me being away from home a lot and the call of the open road seems like it will help with my pain, stress, and mild ptsd. I am fairly certain that I can and will deal with and overcome my back issues once I have had a chance to distance myself from the military and I can for the first time in a long time reflect on my life and the things I have done while in the military. Thanks again for your help. Stay safe out there!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Charles!

As far as the pain meds go, any doctor or hospital that gives DOT physicals can tell you if your particular meds are allowed in commercial driving. Hopefully you'll be able to find something that's effective and approved for commercial driving.

As far as your back issues, I would highly recommend yoga. I've been doing yoga for quite a few years now and it's like a miracle. Seriously. You can't begin to imagine the effects it will have on you. Take a look at this video - I've watched this about 10,000 times:

Never Give Up!

I just noticed that video has over 10,000,000 views! I look around at our society and the awful shape that people are in and it's such a bummer. I know how easy it is to be flexible, have great strength & balance, and be the proper weight by simply counting calories and doing a little Yoga.

If you decide to give Yoga a try, the best beginner's set I've ever found is this one:

Yoga Zone

I have no affiliation with that product, nor do I make any money suggesting it. It's just a great product I've recommended for years.

And for strength training I use:

Mark Lauren Bodyweight Training

That guy is a special forces instructor. Read his bio. It's incredible. He's a boxing champion, world record holder - all kinds of stuff. He designed that program and it's incredible. I use the app on my iPad. Best $3 you could ever spend.

If you combine that strength training with some Yoga I'd bet anything you'll see a major improvement in your back. The problem is likely that you have imbalances in your muscular system. During all of that lifting, bending, and twisting you used certain muscles and positions more than others. So the flexibility and strength imbalances are throwing off the alignment of your spine and joints. That misalignment is responsible for a lot of aches and pains that people have, and likely is causing yours. Yoga is like being your own chiropractor. After you've done it for a while you can feel a misalignment anywhere in your body and you know just how to move a little bit to realign everything in an instant.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ray F. (aka. Mongo)'s Comment
member avatar

Charles from one vet to another Thank you for your service. Also make sure the day you get back home you find a DAV office and get started with a V.A. claim for both money and medical. As has been stated above Narcotic's are a major no-no in trucking. You may have to have your meds switched to a non- narcotic and allow time for the rest to get out of your system before you start driving.

Highway Grunt0311's Comment
member avatar

Some medications have an exemption, if your doctor can write off it doesn't affect your driving, BUT this is a major one. it falls on the company's insurance and the medical examining you. But as stated above, try yoga, I left the Corps with back pain due to the BS we went through in a **** hole of a country over seas and yoga does pretty good.

Rockin' Rick's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your service!

I'm a vet also. I recommend that you file your VA paperwork as soon as it's legal to do so. I got out in '08 and was able to get my disability decision and benefits squared away rather quickly. I had to go to the local VA peeps, in my county, to get the process into second gear.

On your medical...once you get your meds squared away, have your Doc give you a preliminary DOT physical to make sure you are squared away. Then, have him write you a letter they call a DMR: Doctor's Medical Release. My Doc typed one up and included a list of my meds. That's exactly what I needed. During the physical, they will go over your history and your DMR, then have you do some minor exercises including jogging in place to get your heart rate up. That was the jarring part of that process. Expect to take. DOT physical at the school and then for which ever company you choose.

Best of luck during your transition!

Rick

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Charles, to answer you question about my extensive knowledge of pain and pain meds, I'll give you a little history... For many years..well, until I was atleast 45..I thought I was immortal !!! I broke colts..if someone could hold it down, I'd get on it..I rode motorcycles,..ridgid frame..crashed em, too. And I did the usual stupid stuff, fell off ladders, got pulled off a roof, lifted the wrong way to many times...But a horse wreck did the worst damage..3 times..broke my back in different areas. Those injuries coupled with age, fibromyalgia, chronic pain disorder, and my usual " I can do it, it won't hurt me" attitude has taken its toll. I'm blessed with a very high pain threshhold, but my bp gets up there when I hurt, so its a give and take. I don't like pain meds, I don't like the drug hangover they give me. So I researched alternatives. As Brett stated, Yoga works wonders, both for your mind and your body. It will strengthen your core, and help your body take the stress off the damaged areas, thus allowing healing to begin. I also stretch a few times a day, and have learned how to keep my back aligned by simple spine lengthening movements taught to me by a "bone cracker". I maintained my DOT physical clearance because I didn't take the class 4 meds. and there are alternatives out there. I think you will find that after you get away from the job that is damaging your body, you will be able to wean off the class 4 drugs, and replace them, if needed with something else. One of the most important things will be a GOOD mattress and a good pillow. And truck mattresses are crap...all of them. We put a good innerspring super single in our truck...it was heaven. And I'm in a class of my own, but I LOVE sleeping while the truck is running down the road !! Its like those cheap hotel beds that you put the quarter in to have it vibrate.I just lay on my back, relax, and everything goes back into place !!! So I really think you can work you way out of the drugs that would keep you from being a driver...it will take some creative thinking on your doctor's part, and some fortitude on your part. If its worth it to you, you can do it !! Keep us informed....and we're glad your here !!!! and...btw...theres no time like NOW to start your studying !!! the High Road Training Program is waiting for you !!!!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

This topic has the following tags:

DOT Physical Drug and Alcohol Testing Health Concerns Military Veterans In Trucking Understanding The Laws
Click on any of the buttons above to view topics with that tag, or you can view a list of all forum tags here.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More