Sitting is the new smoking, and that’s just one way our jobs can wreck our bodies. We have to guard against repetitive motions and inactivity in our daily lives, balancing out work with adequate physical activity. But even an hour of working out each day after work isn’t enough to offset inactivity, and it is nearly impossible to offset repetitive movements. We have to change the way we work to protect ourselves from injuries that can turn into lifelong problems. Muscle pain is the first indication of a problem, and treating it fully and promptly is the key to avoiding long term musculoskeletal problems.
Making modifications to the way we work is key to preventing workplace injuries. Back pain alone causes 64 million missed workdays a year, and each individual with back pain misses an average of 12 days a year because of it. Sitting all day is one of the culprits behind back pain, as is the inactivity that goes along with sitting.
Giving yourself options at your desk is key if you are sitting all day. Use a desk that can convert to a standing desk and try to spend at least a third of your workday standing instead of sitting. You can also use a yoga ball instead of a chair part of the time to give yourself a chance to work on balance and your core.
If you aren’t working a desk job, be wary of repetitive movements. Try to switch with others so you are alternating movements and not doing the same thing every day.
If you do experience a workplace injury, it’s important to ensure it is treated quickly and fully. Even a little muscle pain from a repetitive strain injury can snowball into something more serious if left untreated. Muscle pain usually means that there is weakness elsewhere that your body is compensating for.
Getting physical therapy for injuries is an important first step toward healing. Once your body is healed properly you can incorporate strengthening exercises into your routine to prevent further injuries.
Trauma, overuse, and injuries all lead to muscle pain, and over time this muscle pain can spiral out of control, leading to falls and broken bones among other issues. Half of the American adults have musculoskeletal problems, and many of them are going untreated. Weakness progresses to the point it leads to falls or deteriorated strength.
Reducing the pain and inflammation can get you on the road to recovery, and physical therapy, massage, and muscle activation techniques are the way to get there. For many injuries, physical therapy can be as effective of treatment as surgery and can prevent patients from reaching the point where they need surgery.
It’s up to you to protect your body from injuries, even in the workplace. Even a small injury can build over time if it’s not properly addressed. Make sure you are alternating your physical activity throughout the workday and getting plenty of exercises to offset any sitting. Learn more about preventing muscle pain and treating it once you get it from the infographic below.
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