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Tips For Managing Common Work-Related Pain

This is a preview of one of the additional articles we provide for our ERL12 participants. The next round of our online fitness challenge, ERL12 will begin in July 2016. Register your interest below this post.

Beau Bressington
Pain can usually be classified as one of three types, neural pain, muscular pain or skeletal pain.  When doing a work out routine it's always important to make sure your body is mechanically sound to complete the exercise. Whether it's preventative, maintenance or repair it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a professional.


Most injuries are caused by overloading a muscle or joint, which in turn causes trigger points or inflammation. Commonly a lot of these injuries occur before even stepping into a gym. One we see quite a lot is usually caused by office or retail work, sitting at a desk all day or standing at a counter serving people is one way to create problematic postural abnormalities. Even for me right now typing this I know that I'm putting my neck under stress as I look down at my Macbook, which can cause a lot of back issues and then create pain in my shoulders, chest, neck, arms and much more. So next time you are doing work, study or even just flicking though Instagram, think to yourself, how is your posture effecting your spine?

I’m going to provide some tips on how to prevent pain from occupational hazards.

1. If you’re on your computer you’re more than likely using a mouse, this can create tightness in your upper traps, rotator cuff , arms and back, eventually leading to headaches or migraines.  Make sure your chair isn’t too high, switch mouse from hand to hand time to time, stretch your arms, go for a short walk, or at least stand up and move around every 30 mins. Be aware of your posture, if you feel your self slumping, sit up straight and squeeze your shoulders together for 10 seconds. Not only will this remind you that you have poor posture, but will also strengthen the back muscles that cause slumping in the first place.

2. If you are standing at work, most probably you are leaning to one side, loading up your hip. This one may seem unlikely but it can cause a lot of pain in the future. Loading up your hip creates little contractions in your glutes, that can then tighten up your lower spine, for a lot of you who get a “Sciatica” pain that travels down your lower back, bum, and all through your legs, this is usually the cause. This is a nerve pain that is caused by the impingement of your sciatic nerve in your lower spine and through a muscle called your piriformis. It’s technically not sciatica, but can cause the same symptoms. Switch from leg to leg, be mindful of your posture, awareness is the key! Try and stand on both legs as evenly as possible, walk around, and when no-ones looking, stretch.

3. If your job involves lifting, your lower back is probably pretty sore, if you haven’t been to the gym, or taught how to deadlift properly, chances are you are lifting wrong. If your back feels like that of a camels, straighten that guy up and bend at the hips and knees, keeping a tight tummy and getting down low will help you lift any item safely, if it's too heavy get a friend to help.

4. Got pains already? These are some people to see:
Physiotherapist
For joint pain, niggling injuries, or sports injuries are the best.
Chiropractor
For joint pain, stiffness, nerve pain, mainly through the spine.
Massage therapist
For sore stiff muscles, tight necks, and shoulders, and lower backs.
Osteopath
For sore joints, poor mobility.
These are just the basics, but there are also many other natural healers, everyone is different and different methods work for different people. So try a few and see what works best for you.

A few things you can do yourself is to do isolated stretches, which you can find in the stretching guide [free download here], trigger pointing with a ball, or a friend. Self massage, and foam rolling. Natural remedies and minerals, that can help with inflammation and soreness like magnesium, glucosamine, turmeric, and many more.

Creating a pain management routine will not only help through your work outs, but your work and lifestyle too. Always remember to exercise safely, and if you're not sure on a technique, research or ask a professional.


Interested in taking part in the next 12 week online program?
It begins in July. Places are always limited so that we can provide people with one-on-one email support. Register your interest by entering your email in the form below, you will need to confirm your registration by accepting the confirmation email sent to you.

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How I Roll

So you have probably seen those blue or grey tubey things that people roll around the floor on and thought to yourself, “What the hell are they doing?” They are foam rollers and are designed to help you loosen and soften your muscles to relieve pain and discomfort in various parts of your body.

If you have any of the following symptoms it's definitely time to start foam rolling:
✘ Headaches
✘ Back pain
✘ 'Pulling' sensation under your knee cap when walking
✘ Tight hamstrings (difficulties stretching)
✘ Neck pain (office job, anyone?)
✘ Shin splints

 If you are new to foam rolling its best to start with a smaller, softer roller so you don’t feeling like you are smashing your legs with a mallet. Foam rolling is about releasing muscles and hitting trigger points in a tight or achy muscle by applying your own body weight over the roller and targeting a muscle or area for 30-60 seconds. Trigger points are little bound up pieces of muscle fibre that have not healed correctly (usually from injury or from being overactive and switched on). For example, if you have weak muscles in your back, your neck will be taking on more load to cope and will then develop trigger points that need releasing. Traditionally massage is the best way to release trigger points but not everyone has the time or money for a massage therapist frequently, so spending a good 15-20 minutes a day foam rolling can help ease headaches, pain in your lower back region, increase strength and reduce fatigue. 

Ok, ok, ok, after all this blabbering lets get down to business. Here are 5 foam rolling exercises that can help you become more flexible, stronger and happier.


Back

Place the foam roller on the ground and lay over it on your back starting at the base of your spine and slowly roll your back up the foam roller and let your vertebrae relax one by one. Once you have reached the top of the back, begin rolling back down to the bottom again! Repeat this for 30-60 seconds.

 

Glutes

Sit up on the foam roller with your bum on top like it’s a chair, extend both legs forward and bent with your feet flat on the ground. Now bring one of you legs across your other leg, so your ankle is above your other legs knee and start bringing your foot that’s on the ground towards you until you feel a stretch in your bum. Now that its nice and tight start rolling back and forth slowly and repeat for 30-60 seconds and switch sides.

 

Hamstrings

Still on the foam roller, cross your ankles over and extend your legs out all the way, start at the bottom of your… well bottom and roll down your leg till you get to your knee and go back up. Also you can roll side to side to hit different tendons.

 

ITB & Quads

To roll out your ITBs start by lying on top of the foam roller with the outside of your leg and roll between the top of the leg down towards your knee and then back up. After you've done that a few times start to roll over more (so that you are becoming closer to lying completely on your stomach) to target the outer quad, mid quad and inner quad. Time to roll over and pretty much do the same thing but on your front, start from your hip and roll down to your knee and back up. 

 

Calves

Like the hamstring roll out, cross your ankles over each other and put the roller under your calf muscles and roll up and down from the knee to the ankle, have fun! 


Now that you are feeling nice and your muscles are loose follow the stretching guide to get even more flexibility and recover better!

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Mistakes You Make in Squats + Deadlifts

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A lot of people seem to think that doing squats and/or deadlifts is going to give them a sore back... wrong. Doing squats and deadlifts will actually strengthen your back, IF you do them with the correct technique.

There are a variety of ways to do squats and deadlifts, depending on what you want to get out of your training. For example, a powerlifter isn't going to squat the way that I squat, because I simply want to build strength, not squat until my knees snap (horrible flashbacks to that video that's going around Facebook at the moment).

These exercises predominantly use your leg muscles, but actually help strengthen all over (core, back etc). And I think it's important to remember that if you want to burn fat more effectively, you need to get yourself some more muscle, so head down to the gym and use these techniques to improve your technique, lift heavier and get more results: