When you work a physical job, you'll often feel the effects long after you clock out or leave the job site. Injuries that come from repetitive movements can sneak up on you and wreak havoc on your back, joints, and tendons over time. It helps to act early and swiftly in order to stay in good health for the long haul. Here are some tips for keeping your health going strong while you work in construction or another physically intensive job.
The foundation of health in any line of work starts with preventative care. When you work with your body, it's easy to focus on muscles and joints, aches and pains, but vision, hearing, heart health, cholesterol, and diet play a big role in your overall health too. Making an appointment to check in with your primary care provider will put the power of maintaining your health and wellness back in your hands, ensuring you're able to continue working longer.
Your body will let you know when you're asking too much of it. Some muscle soreness and a few minor aches and pains can be normal, but an ongoing or worsening issue should be cause for concern. Listen to your body if you need to slow down or adjust positions while at work. And if an ache or pain doesn't go away, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your primary care provider.
It's easy to think an annoying pain will go away on its own or that you can self-diagnose and treat yourself, but that isn't always the case. If pain persists, don't avoid going to the doctor. Statistically, men, in particular, are very likely to avoid medical care when they need it. According to a Cleveland Clinic study, about two-thirds (65%) of men tend to wait as long as possible to see their doctor if they have any health symptoms or an injury. But putting off visits to the doctor can cause you to develop more severe issues, costing you more money and more extended rehab in the long run. If you fall into this category, be aware of your tendency to avoid and make the right choice to seek help.
As you work, a breakneck pace isn't always the way to go to get the job done faster. Working too fast can lead to injury, which will slow you down in the long run. Take your time when you're working hard, stopping for breaks when you need them.
As you work, striving to keep a safe job site can help reduce the risk of injury. Check equipment and safety rigs before using them, and be sure to report or resolve any issues you find before you continue working.
Stretching is an easy step to skip in the morning and after work, but loosening your muscles will make your whole body work better as a unit. Some light stretching can take as little time as five minutes, and it helps prevent injury while making you feel good in the present too.
Soaking in a hot tub, in a bath, or at the hot springs can help ease pain and soreness, and it helps with mental relaxation as well as the physical. Take the timeout you need to breathe and unwind in some hot water. You can also apply ice and heating pads as needed to ease muscle soreness. However, it's a good idea to get a personalized recommendation from your provider if you find yourself turning to this option too frequently.
Even if it's as simple as working the knots in your shoulder with the opposite hand, regular massage can help lessen soreness and loosen up your body and prevent injury down the line. If you can, investing in regular massage from a professional can be an excellent way to care for yourself and your body.
When you're injured or have persistent pain that won't budge, it is time to seek professional medical assistance. Making an appointment at a local health clinic like Community Health Partners can be an affordable way to head off issues early and get back to working hard and feeling good.
Have more questions about how to take care of yourself while working a strenuous physical job? The skilled staff at CHP clinics are here to help in communities around Southwest Montana. Get in touch with your nearest clinic to make an appointment today.