The life of a tradie is one that is particularly physical and involves a lot of repeated bending, lifting and squatting. I have met a few older tradies in the clinic who have come in with lower back, neck and shoulder problems. I have also met a few who have changed jobs because of the physical toll their trade has taken on their bodies.
People are living and working longer than ever before, which is why it’s so important to look after your body.
Here are SIX STRATEGIES FOR TRADIES that can help them stay the course a bit longer.
1. Take regular breaks from prolonged positions such as crouching and bending forward. Try alternating between tasks more regularly.
2. Use these breaks to stand up, walk around, and do a few back extensions to stretch out your lower and mid back, and add a few neck stretches. This is particularly important for electricians and painters as their necks can experience pain from prolonged periods of looking up with ceiling work.
3. Try to avoid repeated bending in the same way. You could try changing the way you pick something up by squatting and bending at the hips and knees or lunging forward to pick up an object. Mixing it up is the important thing.
4. Stretch out the upper and mid back. When this area becomes stiff through a lot of lifting, it affects the lower back, neck and shoulders, making it far more likely to injure one of these areas.
5. Use the correct lifting technique, which keeps your lower back straight so you can bend at the hips and squat with your knees.
6. Make sure you brace before you lift. Brace the abdomen and engage the pelvic floor muscles before you lift a heavy object.
These strategies, along with THREE SIMPLE STRETCHES that can be done throughout the workday, will help.
Here are a few you can try:
1. Stand with your legs at hip width apart and straight.
2. Place your hands on your hips.
3. Lean your body backwards, trying to arch in the lower back as much as you can, lifting your chest up towards the ceiling.
4. Try to avoid allowing your hips to swing forwards too far.
5. Hold this position before returning to the start position.
SEATED TRUNK ROTATION
1. Sit upright in a chair.
2. Rotate your body round to one side, using your arms on the back of the chair to pull yourself round further.
3. This should feel like a stretch through the torso.
1. Step out to the side and bend this leg, feeling a stretch through the inner thigh of the extended leg.
2. Next, turn into a prisoner stretch, dropping the back knee down to the floor and pushing your hips forward with your hands behind the head as you lean into the bent leg.
3. You will feel the stretch in the front of the back hip.
4. Finally, go into a pigeon stretch, tucking the front leg underneath you, and sitting down to stretch through the buttock muscles.
Hope this helps, Deb