Maria Laoudikou

Doctor of Chiropractic, GCC registered Chiropractor, blogger.

“My back pain is part of my job, there is nothing I can do!”

Friday, 16 October 2020 08:36

That’s something I hear 99% of the time when I have a client that works in a physical job. Well let’s agree to disagree here.  Tree surgeons, bricklayers, firefighters, builders, painters, engineers, carpenters, drivers and other manual workers are indeed at higher risk for work-related aches and pains because their tasks always require greater exertion. LBP (lower back pain) is one of the most common disorders people employed in manual labour positions experience.

However, that doesn’t mean their jobs have less benefits, especially coming to fitness and mental health or that they should accept their back pain is going to be part of their lives .

 

But how manual labourers can prevent low back pain?

Chiropractic

In a physically demanding job, your body needs to be prepared to avoid back pain. Manual labour can be hard, don’t let back pain make it harder. Seeing a chiropractor doesn’t have to be done after pain sets in. People can visit their chiropractor before a problem arises so they can learn some tips on preventative measures. The chiropractor will offer guidance on how to best handle hard job tasks, such as bending the hips and knees and picking up a load of supplies safely before standing upright. With this advice in mind, workers are better prepared for the job duties ahead and can help themselves avoid work related injuries.

Anyone with a physical job who regularly twists, turns, bends, and lifts should seek the routine care of a chiropractor to ensure the body is in top shape to continue performing this hard labour. A one-time visit will help, and may even eliminate pain, but steady routine care will help maintain optimal condition of the spine to keep the body performing year after year.

Exercise but outside of your job

It’s no secret that exercise can offer endless mental and physical benefits, however, unless you're doing it outside of work hours, high levels of physical activity could be doing you more harm than good, a new study has claimed.

Researchers in the Netherlands claim that a “physical activity paradox” means exercise may only be good for you if it isn’t a part of your job and is conducted in leisure-time.

Try to make exercise a regular habit. It truly can do wonders for your back. Not only does it increase your muscle strength and flexibility, but it also triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural version of pain relievers. Strive for about 20-30 minutes of daily exercise 3-5 times a week.

Stretching

Stretching helps both improve flexibility and increase a range in motion in our joints. Better flexibility may improve your physical performance. And it may also decrease your risk of having an injury. Make sure your joints are able to move through their entire range of motion so your muscles will be able to work more effectively. Stretching also helps to improve circulation, muscle posture, and enhance your energy. Try to stretch before work and before you go to sleep.

Avoid over-stressing your back

Some manual labour requires workers to perform the same tasks repeatedly. This may cause overstressing to the lower and/or upper back. Make sure you aren’t trying to push through the pain for the sake of the job. That will only cause trouble. You might damage a disc or irritate the nerves around your back.

So, make sure to take a break when you start to notice back pain. And try mixing up the tasks you do throughout your day. This way, you’re not using the same back-supporting muscles constantly. Use tools like dollies and wheel barrels when your back needs a break or don’t be ashamed to use back support if you need to as sometimes you can’t avoid overstressing your back.

Wear shoes with support

When you engage in manual labour, you end up spending a lot of time on your feet. If your shoes aren’t providing sufficient support, your back will end up absorbing a lot of added strain. Talk to your chiropractor to discuss custom orthotics or find over-the-counter shoe inserts that provide enough support.

Magnesium intake

Magnesium together with calcium is essential for optimal muscle function. A deficiency in magnesium can result in muscle and nerve twitches, spasms and cramping. Labour workers, similar as heavy exercisers often experience a build up of lactic acid, shin splints and sore, painful muscles during and after their shift. Having sufficient magnesium helps speed up recovery, reduce fatigue and avoid injuries. Magnesium is an essential component for important bodily operations. It is part of the contraction and the relaxation of muscles and helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system. Magnesium can be found in foods, it’s available in a dietary supplement form but is also absorbed by the skin. Many people have turned to magnesium-rich lotions and creams to rub directly on tight and aching muscles or to help relieve anxiety. Another great way to absorb magnesium is via magnesium-bathing! Boosting your intake of magnesium, especially via direct infusion from magnesium bathing, increases anti-inflammatory agents — which helps decrease joint pain — and helps relieve muscles aches by providing the body with the necessary nutrition for neuromuscular transmission. It is also known for improving blood circulation, helping with migraines and headaches, reducing anxiety and even improving sleep. Enjoy a 20-30 mins magnesium bath 2-3 times a week.  (The best ones I found and my clients love are from https://www.saltspaco.com/ . You can use the code "Mariachiro" for a 10% discount too! :) )

 

As mentioned above, coming to overall health a manual job can have lots of benefits

Benefits of having a manual labour job:

  • Better sleep: Many people have a hard time sleeping because they are not actually physically tired. Those physically active for more than four to six hours a day enjoy better sleep quality.
  • Reduces obesity and burns calories: Moving is a good thing; it benefits the body. Functional movement such as lifting, bending and pushing are all exceptional ways to build muscle, improve flexibility and keep the extra unwanted pounds at bay. Standing alone burns 50 calories per hour but physically working for 8-10 hours burns up to 50% more calories and helps promote a healthier lifestyle compared to someone sitting at a desk all day.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes: Manual labour positions demand considerable physical exertion, which can be a benefit compared to the standard office job. You’ll spend a lot of time on your feet, and often lifting, pushing, or pulling things, which builds muscle and keeps you fit. The advantages of this kind of activity are multifaceted. They included reduced risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other health conditions that more sedentary workers face.
  • Improves coordination: Many manual labour jobs require hand-coordination and after practicing it for over 40 hours a week your bound to get good at it.

Exerting yourself in physical work​, whether by swinging a hammer or mowing a lawn, can promote good health. The benefits can go beyond keeping fit and trim.

  • Hard work can also affect how you feel about yourself. Writing for the U.S. National Mental Health and Education Centre, Dr Fred Provenzano says that learning physical tasks can add to your “sense of self-reliance and general confidence” and “can also foster self-discipline and order, which are foundations for successful employment’’.
  • When you physically work for your money, you tend to have a different level of appreciation for it and this sense of appreciation flows into other parts of your life, you start showing more empathy towards others and tend to have more respect in general. This contributes to a positive outlook which is essential to a healthy life style.
  • With fewer and fewer hands-on learning opportunities for kids and more emphasis put on grades, it is less likely that kids will be engaged in hands-on work. This type of learning environment has been replaced with textbooks and computers. Each person has a unique way in which they learn. Having physical interactive learning practices will benefit many young artists.

 

If you have specific questions about your health history and chiropractic, please reach out and Maria would be glad to answer any questions. If she can help, she will let you know, if she can’t she will let you know too. :) 

Last modified on Friday, 13 November 2020 13:06

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