Preventing Strain Injury at Work
Whatever type of job you do, whether you sit at a desk, are on your feet or drive a vehicle, you need to protect your joints, muscles and ligaments. This is important at any age in order to prevent long term injury.
Lower back pain and what is known as repetitive strain injury that affects the arms, wrists, fingers, neck or shoulders, can be both disabling and hard to resolve. By following some straightforward rules, such as adopting a good posture, and doing some simple exercises, you can prevent problems arising and help yourself to stay fit and mobile.
If your job involves sitting for long periods
- Rotate your tasks so that you are not spending too much time in one position; for example, switch between the phone and the computer or, even better, go and speak to someone face to face
- Try to get out of the building for some fresh air every day
- Try to take a short break for a few minutes each hour
- Drink plenty of water
- Ensure your workstation is set up correctly; for example, check that your chair is set at right height for your desk or computer; the backrest is in the correct position and the mouse within easy reach.
Staying fit for longer working lives | The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
If your job involves physical activity
The good news is that bending, lifting, stretching and pushing are all good for your health and overall fitness. Just doing your job can help you meet the recommended target for exercise. Physiotherapists suggest you take 30 minutes of physical activity on at least five days a week. This can be broken down into 10 or 15 minute chunks, if this suits you better.
Here are some key point to consider:
- Warm up a little to prepare your body using small movements or gentle stretches. Aim to do this at the beginning of the day and after rest periods
- Use a good technique. Ask for training for the tasks you do
- Use any tools or equipment correctly to avoid aches and pains
- Consider seeking advice from a physiotherapist about specific exercises to help you develop the strength to do your job safely and effectively
- Have a good posture: stand upright, maintain the natural curves of your back, keep your arms close to your body and your feet hip distance apart
- Follow your employer’s health and safety procedures
- Eat well and drink enough fluids
- Report any health problems to your employer
These helpful tips have been provided by the Chartered Institute of Physiotherapy.