How to avoid occupation specific injuries

Occupation specific injuries are those that are common amongst certain types of activities and postures. I have included some of these as examples and a few tips to take into consideration if you are suffering from unexplained pain...

The most common Occupational Injuries I come across are:teaching posture

Teachers - Upper back, neck & lower back.

Decorators, Plumbers and Electricians - shoulders, arms, necks, lower backs and knees.

Hairdressers - Neck, Shoulders, Arms and Hips

Office Workers and Receptionists, upper back, neck, shoulders, ankles, knees & hips.

Teachers - Upper back, neck & lower back.  Many teachers especially spend a great deal of their time 'twisted'.  They stand in front of a board and twist around to talk to the class, or they might have a large book open facing the class, but keep twisting to turn, or point at, the page. In the primary sector teachers frequently spend hours listening to children read to them, while the child might change the teacher stays in the same position and though the child might change every 10 minutes or so, they all sit in the same place, causing a lean or twist in that direction.

Decorators, Plumbers and Electricians - shoulders, arms, necks, lower backs and knees. Those working in these trades often find themselves in awkward spaces, with their arms above their head, frequently twisted postures can become suddenly strained on lifting heavy weights, such as ladders, cabling, large paint pots, ceramics etc.,

Hairdressers - Neck, Shoulders, Arms and Hips.  Hairdressers spend hours with their arms held in a half raised position under tension, often bending sideways and twisting around as the client sits perfectly still and comfortable. Add the weight of carrying kit to these tired and overloaded muscles and this can be a very hazardous occupation!!desk posture

Office Workers and Receptionists, upper back, neck, shoulders, ankles, knees & hips. Given the emphasis on health and safety in offices this is perhaps a surprising group - except....  One can be carefully measured for the right height desk and have the world's best fully adjustable, ergonomically designed chair and still suffer from postural problems.  Why? Because no-one bothers to explain that is matters HOW the equipment is used.  If the individual sits with their legs tucked underneath them or crossed one over the other, leaning on one elbow - or is required or in the habit of always looking to one side - to speak to a colleague, answer the phone or refer to 'copy', muscular strain and imbalance will occur. Add to this frequent reaching for heavy files at an awkward or overhead angle and you have the recipe for months of 'inexplicable' pain.

Clearly it would be rather mean of me to point all this out if there were not some very easy fixes to all of this.

  1. Get a really good deep tissue sports massage - pay for a full body treatment first, so your whole body can be assessed for misalignment.  Then follow up with more specific treatments to concentrate on the problem areas you have.
  2. Think about the postures and repetitive movements that are part of your daily life.
    1. Teachers, get in the habit of swapping your children from side to side rather than always working from the same side - do the same when presenting from the front of your class. Variety is good - it will also wake your class up!!
    2. Plumbers, Electricians & Decorators - if you are aware you are in an awkward position, try to alter it from time to time. Take frequent breaks to stretch your body out in the opposite direction from the one it has been held in - ALWAYS do this before you lift anything heavy!
    3. Hairdressers - check your posture frequently - though you may be engrossed in what you are doing, learn to be aware of your body and if shifting to a slightly different position helps do so.   As with the Tradesmen above, stop and stretch your body to release any tightness - ans ALWAYS before you lift anything heavy!
    4. Office Workers - check your posture, think about where your legs and feet are - they should be squarely and comfortably on the ground.  Everything should be positioned squarely in front of you - if you are leaning to one side or twisting your torso to look at someone or something frequently - stop and turn the whole chair.  If you handle heavy files that your have to lift in an out of awkward places - negotiate to have these moved to an easier place.

I hope these tips are helpful although they are generalised - please feel free to comment below or email me if you have any specific questions.

Posted in Body, Sports and other Physical Injuries.