Cracking the Code of Work Pains: Chiropractic Solutions for a Pain-Free Day
Ah, the pains of work. Work is how we get by in today’s society. And every job has its challenges, even though there’s a huge diversity in the type of jobs that are available to people! How many times have you come home from work, exhausted? To the point where you only had energy to put some netflix on, eat, maybe drink something and then fall asleep? Yep. It’s happened to all of us. If you’re a working adult, then you definitely would want to be reading this.
But what if we told you that you SHOULDN’T have to feel exhausted after a full day at work? It’s so common, but once again, it’s not normal!
In this blog, we’re going to explore the different aspects of work and the pains associated with it: First we’ll explore the continuum of jobs and the different types of demands they have on your physical, emotional and intellectual resources. For each type of job we’ll talk about ways you can approach your job so it has less of a toll on your body. Next we’ll talk you through a gentle exercise that you can use from the moment you walk through the doors of your home to ease your body and reset your spine and nervous system Lastly, we’ll talk about the importance of chiropractic care and how it actually improves your work performance and your levels of energy when you’re not at work.
Ready? Let’s goooo!
The Job Demand Continuum:
Jobs can vary significantly in terms of the levels of physical, emotional, and intellectual exertion they require. Imagine the continuum is a 3D model. On the x axis, we have the level of physical exertion. On the y axis, we have the level of emotional exertion, and on the z axis, we have the level of intellectual exertion.
A simplified model of the levels of exertion that jobs can have.
Start having a think about what kind of levels of exertion your job requires of your physical, emotional, and intellectual resources. Have you thought about this before?
Here are 3 examples of different jobs placed along the continuum of these three factors. Keep in mind that these are generalisations! Your experience with work is unique to you, but these are common examples:
Tradie / construction worker = High physical, low emotional, mild to moderate intellectual exertion
Are you a tradie? We have a lot of tradie clients, and they often tell us that they’re always feeling sore. Why? If you or someone you love is a tradie, then you understand that this job involves intense physical labour, such as lifting heavy materials, digging, operating machinery, awkward postures to run certain machineries or to fix certain sections of a worksite, repetitive movements, vibration exposure from machines, tools and vehicles, all these things create strain on the joints and basically all the limbs. Sometimes jobs are particularly challenging and sometimes require creative problem solving, hence can still require a fair amount of emotional and intellectual resources.
So how do we ease the pressure while AT work? From a chiropractic standpoint,here’s what we recommend:
- Proper Lifting Techniques: Tradies should receive training in safe lifting techniques to protect the lower back and reduce the risk of injury.
- Ergonomic Equipment: Whenever possible, choose ergonomic tools and equipment that reduce strain on the body.
- Regular Stretching: Incorporate stretching routines into daily work to maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of muscle and joint issues.
- Exercise and Strength Training: Engaging in regular exercise, including core-strengthening exercises, can provide better support for the spine and musculature.
- Chiropractic Care: Regular chiropractic check-ups can help detect and address musculoskeletal issues early, providing adjustments and recommendations for better spinal health.
- Proper Footwear: Choose supportive and well-fitted footwear to reduce the risk of lower limb issues.
- Worksite Safety: Follow safety protocols and use appropriate protective gear to minimise injury risks.
- Rest and Recovery: Ensure adequate rest and recovery after physically demanding tasks to allow the body to heal and rejuvenate.
Tradies face unique physical challenges in their work, and proactive measures to protect their musculoskeletal health are essential for long-term well-being and injury prevention. Chiropractic care can be a valuable resource in managing and addressing any strains or discomfort that may arise.
Tradies always sore - wouldn’t it be nice to finish work and not feel smashed, they have families
Desk work, e.g. admin role = low physical, moderate emotional, moderate intellectual exertion
A LOT of people have office jobs these days, and most of our clients often describe neck, shoulder, lower back pain, and sometimes headaches. Why is that? Well, you know how an office job is, you’re talking a lot, answering phone calls, typing words, dealing with challenges that clients might have, tight schedules, and a LOT of sitting down because work only gets done with the computer, scanner, phone and calendar. This means poor posture, neck and shoulder tension from leaning forward, hip and leg discomfort, and lower back pain from the prolonged sitting. (BY THE WAY: in our last blog we delve deeply into work life balance for office jobs. How to counteract the postural changes that an office job can cause- so if you haven’t read that one already, you can find it HERE).
To address these strains and promote better spinal health in a desk job setting, chiropractic recommendations often include:
- Ergonomic Workspace: Setting up an ergonomic workspace with proper chair height, keyboard and mouse placement, and monitor positioning to promote good posture.
- Regular Breaks: Taking short breaks every hour to stand, stretch, and move around can help reduce the strain of prolonged sitting.
- Postural Awareness: Being mindful of posture and making a conscious effort to sit with the spine properly aligned.
- Stretching Exercises: Incorporating stretching exercises for the neck, shoulders, and back to relieve tension and maintain flexibility.
- Strengthening Exercises: Engaging in core-strengthening exercises to support the spine and promote good posture.
- Chiropractic Adjustments: Seeking chiropractic care to address spinal misalignments and musculoskeletal issues that may arise from desk work.
- Regular Exercise: Establishing a routine of regular physical activity outside of work to counteract the sedentary nature of the job.
By proactively addressing these challenges and implementing healthy habits, individuals with desk jobs can promote better spinal health and overall well-being. Chiropractic care can play a significant role in managing and preventing musculoskeletal issues related to desk work.
Teachers/ childcare workers = moderate physical, high emotional, moderate intellectual exertion
Teachers and childcare workers. Most of our clients are teachers, childcare workers, and they think it’s normal for work to be giving you pain, such as sore hips, backs, necks and shoulders. It’s not normal, but it’s way too common. Why does it happen in childcare, well let’s see here: There’s the part where childcare workers end up sitting on the tiny stools, sitting on the floor, their hip get stuck, there’s a lot of lifting, carrying, bending, stooping (you know how small kids are), constant vigilance, and a lot of emotional stress because looking after kids is one of the hardest jobs, EVER.
From a chiropractic perspective, it’s essential for childcare workers to be proactive in maintaining their physical health and well-being. Here are some recommendations:
- Proper Lifting Techniques: Childcare workers should be trained in proper lifting techniques to minimize the risk of back injuries. This includes using their legs, not their backs, to lift.
- Ergonomic Considerations: Where possible, childcare facilities should provide ergonomic furniture and equipment to support the physical needs of staff. Adjusting workstations and seating to be more ergonomic can also help.
- Regular Exercise and Stretching: Engaging in regular exercise, especially core-strengthening exercises, and incorporating stretching routines can help maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of strain.
- Chiropractic Care: Regular chiropractic check-ups can help detect and address any musculoskeletal issues early on. Chiropractors can provide adjustments and recommend exercises to improve posture and alleviate discomfort.
- Stress Management: Techniques for managing emotional stress, such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises, can help reduce physical tension and discomfort.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and sufficient sleep contributes to overall well-being and resilience against physical strain. It’s crucial for childcare professionals to be aware of these potential physical strains and take proactive steps to prevent and address them. Chiropractic care can play a valuable role in supporting their physical health and helping them continue to provide excellent care to young children.
What about you and your unique experience with work? Take a moment to think about what kind of physical, emotional, and intellectual demands your work asks of you, comment below and let us know.
The gentle universal exercise
Now because everyone has different jobs, hence roles and different types of exertion required, we’ve decided to run you through a gentle and universal exercise that will benefit EVERYONE. Let’s say you JUST got home from work, you could be exhausted, or maybe a little tense. Here’s something you can do right from the moment you walk through the door. All you need is a soft floor or surface. A yoga mat, or a carpeted floor, or even your bed. You ready?
Lay flat on your back, and make sure your back isn’t arching off the surface you’re laying on. That’s right, let the weight of your back sink in. Better yet, bring your knees up so your feet are still flat on the floor/mat, this will actually help ease your lower back and allow it to relax into the surface you’re laying on.
Now slowly and gently, start to swing your legs side by side, and make sure to keep your knees together. Take your time, go slowly, go gently, and take deep breaths. Keep this going for 5 minutes… that is unless you’ve fallen asleep after a few seconds (believe us - it happens a lot - especially after a long day at work). This exercise is amazing because it calms the nervous system down. The gentle sway of this exercise is so helpful for people with low physical exertion jobs because the gentle movement in the spine helps the body squeeze the excess fluid out of the joints that have been sedentary. This exercise is also amazing for people with high physical exertion jobs because the gentle movement helps even out the tone in your muscles, joints and nerves.
Chiropractic care positively impacts your work performance
Here’s the thing: whether your work is high or low in physical exertion, in different ways it causes strain and imbalances on your spinal structure and therefore the connectivity of your nervous system.
Chiropractic care reduces the buildup of stress from the day. You know the sayings “I’m coming in for a crack” or “I can’t wait to get my fix”? A chiropractic adjustment is essentially the act of putting your nervous system back into full alignment so it can clear away the waste products that add up from the day.
What the results actually look like in the workplace:
- Better body functionality and mobility
- Better cognition and focus
- Less pain in the body
- Better and more sustainable posture
- Injury prevention
- Better stress management
- After work
- Quicker recovery after work
- Better quality sleep
Beyond the workplace, chiropractic care can improve an individual’s ability to engage in recreational activities and hobbies after work. Whether it’s sports, exercise, or simply enjoying quality time with loved ones, better physical health enhances overall quality of life. By promoting spinal health, reducing pain, and enhancing physical and mental well-being, chiropractic care can help individuals perform at their best in the workplace and enjoy a more fulfilling life after work hours. It’s a valuable tool for maintaining a balanced and productive lifestyle.
In other words… YOU DON’T HAVE TO FINISH THE WORK DAY FEELING EXHAUSTED!! Instead, your “normal” can be spending good quality time with your loved ones after finishing your workday and feeling energetic. Let’s normalise this!
If you’ve learnt something new, or this hit close to home, send this to a loved one AND make sure you book your chiropractic appointment! Regardless of the types of demands your work requires from you, if you’d like to feel more efficient and free from the pains of work, it’s time to see a chiropractor. Pick up your phone and give us a call on 0411735741. We’re here to help!