WORK-RELATED PAIN

Work-related Pain

Work-related pain has been a hindrance to efficient work performance among employees for a long time. Pain in the lower back and upper extremities are vital causes of morbidity in individuals and translate to a high economic cost to society. Chiropractic care from Clinic 27 could help you deal with this work related pain. 

The mismatch between the physical and physiological factors of tissue load and tissue tolerance causes a combination of structural damage and metabolic waste accumulation that leads to discomfort and pain. Some strains are due to acute overexertion, where they cause direct damage to muscle fibres, ligaments or tendons. This leads to activation of peripheral pain receptors by direct chemical or mechanical action.

Work-related pain is accompanied by an escalating imbalance between quality and quantity of work and individual resources. Workers exposed to repetitive and stressful exertion and awkward postures have an elevated risk of impaired workability and pain disorders. This impaired workability has been associated with loss of productivity, early retirement and high rates of mortality.

Before trying to manage any of these conditions it is essential to understand the work-related factors that form part of the etiology because there is a greater chance of treatment and rehabilitation if these factors are dealt with successfully. The important work-related factors that play a role in inducing pain are:

  • Force
  • Posture
  • Repetition

Below are some of the most common conditions of pain faced by individuals as a result of their occupation according to many doctors concerned with pain management.

Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common work-related issues causing a high rate of absence among employees. Back pain can be caused by inappropriate posture while working or lifting objects, or simply sitting without activity for too long. Working in a job that takes long periods of sitting in front of a screen is also a common cause of back pain.

Tech Neck

Neck pain can also be correlated with poor posture, repetitive strain and injury to muscles, or job stress to an individual. If you are working hard or you are typing for eight hours or more at a desk everyday, this task will make your neck tight, causing muscle pain. The problem manifests as:

  • Generalised pain in shoulders
  • Lower neck and upper back pain
  • Sharp, stabbing localised pain
  • Headaches
  • Reduced mobility of the neck
  • Jaw pain due to misalignment of the cervical spine

Shoulder Pain

Occupational shoulder pain has a specific workplace association with stress-inducing, repetitive work especially if the work is being carried out above shoulder height. Such work provides a biomechanically plausible mechanism for the majority of the pain experienced. In some cases, tears might occur with more forceful activity or where tendons are weakened due to degeneration.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS is a fairly common condition that results from compression of the median nerve at the wrist where it passes under the transverse carpal ligament. Compression of the median nerve is caused by repetitive, forceful movements of the hand and wrist, long use of hand-held powered vibratory tools, or even wrist anatomy and patterns of hand use (such as the way you type).

The symptoms are:

  • Sensory changes
  • Tingling, numbness or pain
  • Wasting of the thenar eminence (the bulge you see at the base of your thumb)

The symptoms typically localise to the palmar aspect of the thumb to the fourth finger and the distal palm, being the sensory innervation of the median nerve at the wrist. Simply put, CTS is a numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist.

CTS is treatable with chiropractic, and usually resolves within months. It rarely requires a lab test or imaging to be diagnosed. Treatments range from rest, ice and wrist splints to cortisone injections and surgery (which chiropractic adjustments will help negate the need for).

Pain caused by repetitive, prolonged activity

Over time, people working in warehouses, factories and assembly lines who go through extensive, repetitive movements, or sit or stand for prolonged periods, will invariably develop subluxations that lead to tension, stiffness, shakiness, carpel tunnel syndrome, pain, fatigue, etc. These have detrimental effects on the quality of a person’s life, often affecting their ability to perform everyday tasks.

Poor Posture

During work, prolonged hunching while sitting in front of screens all day or standing can cause pain in the back, core and abdomen of the individual. This might result in developing stiffness and extreme discomfort in the shoulders or lower back as the stress is born by the spine.

Knowledge of factors associated with work-related pain is necessary for developing management strategies. It is necessary for the health professionals working with individuals suffering from work-related pain issues to be client-centered and ensure each individual’s needs are suitably met so they can operate successfully in work and community life.

Role of Chiropractic in relieving work-related pain

Chiropractic is systemic therapy focused on the neuroskeletal structure of the body, in particular, the spine. Chiropractors work by manipulating the body’s alignment to relieve pain and improve the functional and healing abilities of the body.

Although the mainstay of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, it may also involve other treatments, including:

  • Postural exercises
  • Ergonomic training (how to walk, sit, and stand so back strain is minimised)

Chiropractors often work in conjunction with pain experts, primary care doctors, and surgeons to treat patients with pain.

Chiropractic care has historically been very effective in helping people suffering from work-related low back and neck pain. Using methods like spinal manipulation – a hands-on approach that is used to adjust spinal structures to restore mobility – chiropractic care has shown better and faster results in getting individuals back to work than other treatments, like medical care or physical therapy.

Numerous studies have shown chiropractic treatment approaches to have a prolonged effect as well.
Patients who choose chiropractic care to manage work-relate pain were less likely to miss work, and more likely to be productive in the workplace.

In recent research, labourers who had back or neck pain were surveyed. The researchers discovered that the group provided with chiropractic care experienced faster recovery and comprehensive pain relief.

Compared with most other physical therapies, chiropractic care for work-related lower back pain results in:

  • Fewer surgeries
  • Consistently better outcomes
  • Less painkiller usage
  • Lower recurrence of pain
  • Lower medical costs

It is important to seek therapy for your pain in its early days before a more serious musculoskeletal disorder develops.

The Chiropractors at Clinic 27 are dedicated to helping our clients improve their quality of life by achieving better results, faster. Call Clinic 27 today to start your journey towards less pain and higher  productivity.

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20040506/work-pain
  2. American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, April 2011
  3. https://www.chirocare.com/what-is-a-chiropractor/seek-care/work-related-low-back-pain/#section-3
  4. Harkness, E.F. Arthritis & Rheumatism, May 2004; vol 50: pp 1655-1664. Yelin, E. Arthritis & Rheumatism, May 2004; vol 50: pp 1357-1359.
  5. Kaliniene G, Ustinaviciene R, Skemiene L, Vaiciulis V, Vasilavicius P. Associations between musculoskeletal pain and work-related factors among public service sector computer workers in Kaunas County, Lithuania. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2016;17(1):420. Published 2016 Oct 7. doi:10.1186/s12891-016-1281-7
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26536963/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29713458/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7578188/

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