Ever wonder what jobs today cause the most strain on your body? As an LMT, I have seen how certain jobs adversely affect people’s muscles and skeletal structure. Any profession that causes people to do repetitive motions each day, more often than not lead to problems down the road. It may take a few months, a few years or even a few decades, but chances are your body will suffer the consequences of using the same muscles repetitively on a daily basis.
Today, our professions often force us to sit or stand in the same positions for 8 hours plus. And adding constant, continual movements or heavy weight on top of that can be detrimental to our physical frame.
Our first ancestors lived much differently than we do today. All modern humans were hunter-gatherers until around 10,000 years ago. Look how much we have evolved! Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers have been displaced by farming groups in most parts of the world. Today, with the many advancements of technology, humans have much different jobs than that of our predecessors.
Think about the human anatomy. Our bodies move many ways, but it’s important to see that they work together as one functional unit. If you overwork one part of your body, it causes a chain-reaction to occur in our structure. Similar to a domino-effect, when one section of our functional unit works too hard, the parts around that section begin to suffer, and so forth. Your body will try to help the over-fatigued area, but often times this just throws off other components of our structure. Now, you begin to deal with more injury in more segments of your body. This syndrome is often called over-compensation. One part of your body is over-compensating for another, and the damage can start to spread.
Now, I would like to look closer at 6 professions that I have found to cause a lot of dysfunction in our structures. Here they are starting with the most harmful:
Computer Jobs: This category has a wide range of job descriptions, but the actions are the same. Any profession requiring you to sit for hours at a desk typing seem to be the most detrimental to us. After all, this profession is what most of my clients come to me complaining about. This includes programming, web design, secretarial positions etc. Repetitive typing causes an array of problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Rotater cuff injuries, loss of grip in hands, injuries to tendons and forearm muscles, Sciatica and shoulder/neck pain. A desk job is often paired with less than healthy posture and the combination can have negative results. Good posture consists of shoulders back, chest out, and head back. Most people do not practice good posture in their every day lives. Ninety percent of the population has some degree of what is called Forward Head Posture. This is a postural abnormality that has become more prevalent in modern times. If you work at a desk, start making changes today by checking in with your posture several times a day.
Construction. Some people will be alarmed to know that computer jobs are simply not good for us, but I think many understand the pressure our bodies undergo in the construction field. This includes Carpenters, Electricians, Roofers, Dry-wall workers, Plumbers etc. There are many injuries that can occur to construction workers because of the variety in this field, but the most common injuries that I encounter involve the back: Shoulder cuff injuries, Low Back pain, and bulging/herniated discs. If one does not seek help from a PT or LMT, surgery often becomes the last resort.
Truck Driving. I thought about putting this profession in the construction category but I have seen too many specific injuries just from truck driving. This profession forces people to sit in a driver’s seat for at LEAST 8 hours a day. I know that many of my clients who are long-haul truck drivers will extend their work days so that they get to their destination quicker. And they take few breaks as to save time on the road. This has very negative effects, just like sitting at a computer all day. If you understand anything about anatomy, you know that the human frame is meant to move – a lot. We are built for movement and when we don’t move, our structure suffers. This goes very well with the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Common injuries for truck drivers include Sciatica (compression of the Sciatic Nerve in the hip, causing intense pain and numbness in the buttocks and legs,) various hip/knee problems, and pain especially manifests itself in the foot. Think about how it would affect a person, to hold their right foot on the gas pedal for hours on end. Truck drivers almost always have pain in their right foot that can cause further problems into their knee.
Nursing. The healthcare field is always growing and nurses are always in high demand. But nurses and CNA’s (certified nursing assistants) will find their work to be very demanding on them. They must move and lift patients, spend countless hours in the operating room assisting doctors, and walk from room to room all day. I will talk later about the effects of walking a lot during your work day. Every nurse that I have ever treated seems to have many areas of their body that are in chronic pain. Of course, their number one complaint is back-pain. On average, at least 50% of nurses will suffer from back pain in their life-time. On top of back pain, they suffer from hip issues due to lifting heavy patients and doing twisting motions at the same time.
Waiting tables/Standing jobs. This category includes any profession that requires you to stand for a long period of time. This will include bartending, checkers at a grocery store, dishwashers etc. But I mostly work with waiters and waitresses when it comes to standing jobs. On top of running around for their entire shift, they are supporting very heavy trays with just one side of their body. This is where over-compensation can show up at its worse. Also, I see a lot of issues with the feet in this category of jobs. We were not designed to stand all day, but many of us do. One of the more common foot issues I encounter is Plantar Fasciitis. This affects the thick tissue (Plantar Fascia) on the bottom of the feet. Constant walking and pressure on this tissue causes small micro-tears to the area. These tears usually get worse as more pressure and tension is added every day. I have seen Plantar Fasciitis to be very hard to get rid of. The best way to combat this issue simply, is rest. But many who work 9-5, Monday through Friday do not have the luxury of rest.
Musicians. I have worked on many different type of musicians including guitarists, pianists, and violinists. No matter what instrument they play, musicians suffer from intense forearm pain. Carpal Tunnel occur to many in this field. Any job that requires you to use your hands repetitively often lead to a weakening or loss of grip in the hands. Some that I have treated were no longer able to open jars or even door-knobs before they came to see me. Musicians need to get regular massages in order to prevent their forearms from becoming this tight.
Are you or someone you know suffering or suspect you are suffering from the following ailment?
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Hip Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
If you think you may be dealing with one of the above dysfunctions, and conclude that your job may be responsible for it, I suggest trying out a massage today. If you continue to do a job that is hurting your body, chances are, you will just get worse and massage can help to remedy over-worked muscles. Please call me today in Salt Lake City to schedule your first appointment 801.349.3934.