Pain is usually one of three kinds: neural, muscular or skeletal.
When doing a workout routine it's always important to make sure your body is mechanically sound enough to complete the exercise. Whether its 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, what is your posture doing to 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. Make sure your chair isn’t too high that it makes you raise your shoulders up, switch mouse from hand to hand every now and again, 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 yourself 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 never 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 been taught how to deadlift properly, chances are you are lifting wrong. If your back feels like that of a camels, then 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.
Osteopaths: 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, 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.