Now that we are getting back into the swing of work life, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about work related injuries. Many of us notice at least a few niggles at work, whether you sit at a desk or have a more labour intensive job, however very few people seek treatment for these aches and pains.
4.2% of workers (over 531,000) are estimated to have experienced a work related injury in Australia within the last 12 months (Work-Related Injuries, 2013-14, Australian Bureau of Statistics), however I expect the percentage of people who experience and ignore niggling pain at work would be far greater.
Overuse injuries occur when an action (or static posture) is repeated often, yet because of a slight error, a little extra stress is placed on the body each time until you feel pain! I see overuse injuries which are work related as very similar to overuse injuries that are seen in athletes. So I like to think about and treat them in much the same way.
‘How can I get that person performing their daily tasks to the best of their ability?’and ‘how can we try to prevent further issues later on?’. Physio’s are trained in analysing movement and looking at what factors might be contributing to any pain or difficulties. We then use this information to make a plan for rehabilitation.
Like an athlete that might have to perform a specific movement pattern or skill for their sport, we all have to adopt certain positions for long periods or perform certain tasks daily at work. The difference is an athlete tends to train regularly in order to make sure they are in the best shape to perform their specific activity, whereas the average person may not.
In my opinion, people in the workplace should do the same. I wonder how many of us (like an athlete would) consider whether the type of exercise we do is actually helpful for our jobs. Ideally, we shouldbe thinking: how can I strengthen myself to better handle the tasks I have to perform on a daily basis! There are certain strengthening activities, stretches and advice specific to you (e.g. desk worker vs labourer, tall or short, ‘sporty’ or not) that can be prescribed in order for you to be more comfortable at work; performing the activities you want to without pain.
Taking some time out of your busy day to work on yourself and your conditioning can help reduce the discomfort and have you performing more effectively.
“If you have a body, you are an athlete” Bill Bowerman, Coach, Co-Founder of Nike
Chari is an accredited Sports Physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association and has 9 years of Physiotherapy experience, across 2 countries, has completed 2 post graduate degrees including a Masters of Physiotherapy (Sports) and works with the Queensland Academy of Sport and Queensland Rugby Union.