There were over 199,000 construction injuries in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and about 15% of those were back injuries. This is no surprise as construction work may require extended periods of lifting, pushing, pulling, twisting, and otherwise maneuvering heavy materials. Back injuries may be just about the worst because even small injuries can be so painful and debilitating! If your back is really tight and hurting, we highly recommend that you seek professional medical treatment. However, there are some ways that you might be able to relieve and even prevent back pain and other aches that come with working on a jobsite! Here are a few that we suggest:
It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes you just gotta keep on moving. If you’re taking it easy! But sitting in one place for too long will just make you stiff. Employ a full range of motion, as much possible, slowly, and freely stretching your joints and soft tissues. Reach as far as you can go without pushing your muscles into any pain. This will spread nutrients through your blood circulation and improve your flexibility for less injury in future work, as well!
Tennis Ball or Foam Roller
Tennis balls and foam rollers will essentially allow you to massage your own back. This will release extra tension, loosen up your muscle tissues, and relieve trapped nerves. Massage also releases endorphins that give your body a natural pain-fighting ability. The tennis ball can be used for more localized massage, while the roller will give a wider coverage massage. Just put the ball under your back or other sore muscles while you lie on the floor. Gently press and move around to get the blood flowing and voila! You shouldn’t feel any sharp or sudden pains – so stop if you do!
Get that bod soaking in a nice warm pool, hot tub, or bath. Water gives your muscles buoyancy without weight, which can really relieve that hurt you’re feeling. The water also relieves pain by regulating your nerve function.
Heat therapy is great for both relieving the pain and healing your muscles. Try the self-activated patches that you can stick on anytime, right inside your clothing. You can even do it just before you go on a jobsite; they activate fast! You can also try heat pads, wraps, and warm gel packs. They’re also a great thing to use before you stretch, as they’ll loosen the tightness and range to make stretching more effective.
Meditation is shown to decrease stress and help your perception of pain with focus and release of endorphins. There are also some really powerful meditation techniques, such as pain movement where you can mentally move your back pain into your legs, for example, to make it easier to handle. If you’ve had trouble meditating in the past, there are a variety of YouTube channels and mobile phone apps that can walk you right through it, and you may be surprised by how effective it can be with practice.
As soon as your doctor says you’re mended up, consider a regular schedule of lifting weights, especially deadlifts. The exercise will help you strengthen your back, hamstring, and glute muscles to help prevent injury in the future and allow you to sustain the rigorous labor that’s required on the job.
Of course, you can always take some Ibuprofen, but it’s a quick fix that won’t really support you long term for true health. If you’re looking for support in long term career health too, Check out the latest job opportunities in your area… right here! We can help you match your skills and talents with employers that are looking for craftsmen like you!