This August the Australian Physiotherapy Association is working to raise awareness about health and safety in trade occupations for Tradies National Health Month. Tradies make up nearly a third of Australia’s work force but account for around two thirds of the work-related illnesses and injuries. Whether you’re a brickie, an electrician or anything in between, your physical health is key to your next pay check. So, here are 3 of the most common pains for tradies, and how to tackle them head on:
- Elbow Pain
Heavy loads can strain your the tendons in your arms, resulting in pain in your elbows. If you want to begin preventing those aches, the static triceps exercise is a simple solution. Place one hand in front of you, palm up, and make a fist with the other, bending your elbow at 90 degrees. Place the bottom of your fist into your other hand and press as hard as you can while flexing the muscles at the back of your arms. Hold this for 5 seconds.
- Back and shoulder pain
Every tradie knows someone who has slipped a disc, so save yourself the pain and the 6 weeks recovery by training your core strength. A good introductory exercise is the drawing in manoeuvre. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis backwards then forwards, as far as you can without discomfort. Repeat this a few times, then settle between those two extremes and take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, draw your abdominal muscles toward your spine. Resist the temptation to tense unnecessary muscles or put pressure on your feet, so that your core reaps the full benefits of the exercise.
- Knee Pain
If you’re carrying a lot of weight, kneeling on hard surfaces or constantly squatting down, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your knees. Leg lifts are a good way to strengthen the muscle around the knee joints. Lie on your back and lift one leg, keeping it as straight as possible, while leaving your other leg flat on the floor. Aim for a slow, controlled lift, holding your leg for a few seconds before you bring it back down.
None of these exercises should cause you pain, if you feel discomfort you should stop. A trade is a lifelong skill, so it’s important to take care of your body.