Attention tradesmen, what awkward, contorted position are you working in? Too often we see plumbers, electricians, builders and painter decorators alike, in clinic with aches and pains as a result of the work they do. But what is the crux behind this happening and why is it so common across the industry?
Sockets, pipes, loft spaces all have a similarity. To complete work in and around these features you have to mould your body to get the job done, whether this be squeeze into a small space or reach the work from an awkward angle or uncomfortable position, which often results in the body taking the strain.
So what can you do to make working less of a 'pain in the back' -
If you are faced with the dilemma of crawling into tight spaces be prepared and take the tools you need with you. Try to keep your spine in as neutral a position as possible, avoiding the twisted and contorted poses to access the tight space. If you need to spend extensive time in the tight space take regular breaks to avoid strain and over-exertion of the spine in awkward positions.
Trade Tip - if you find you are frequently working in tight spaces, take regular breaks and be prepared with all the tools you need so you don't find yourself twisting or reaching back to find the missing tools.
Setting up your workspace to prevent overreaching is crucial, even if it means stepping down the ladder more, taking the time to reset your position to do the job safely. When we overreach our body ends up unbalanced making it more plausible for an accidental fall to occur. More importantly repetitive strain sets in when we choose to stretch to the limit of our reach to complete tasks and overtime this causes muscle injury, and time off work.
Trade Tip - if you find you are overreaching plan your job and time to allow for your ladder set up or work positioning to be reset to avoid overstrain.
Crouching should be replaced by laying flat when safe to do so, making sure the spine is well supported. Sitting hunched over a socket or painting a skirting board bent over with the neck and upper back craned is not helping anyone's spine.
Trade Tip - if you find you are resorting to crouching and can't use alternate positions the best advice for your spine is to challenge your spine with stretches and exercises to reverse the repetitive nature of your working position.
Want help and advice managing your work aches and pains get in touch with our team. Helping you enjoy life without the burden of pain.
Remember - " Your body becomes, what it repeatedly does."
Laura Fishlock M.Ost (Osteopath & Clinic Director)