Total Health

How can Chiropractic care help tradies?

June 6th, 2021 by
Category: Back pain Chiropractic Care Dr. Luke Vella Health & Wellbeing Neck pain Posture Shoulder pain

Having a sore back is NOT part of the job

There’s no doubt that being a tradie is tough work. It is a very physically demanding job, thus being able to feel, function and move at your optimum is very important. Optimum feeling, functioning and moving is often not the case for many tradies – it has been estimated that at least 1 in 4 people working in a labour-intensive job suffers from back or neck pain at some point in their career. Common injuries that tradies experience can include:

As there are many different types of injuries and conditions that can arise from being a tradie, it’s important to understand that there are many different mechanisms that may because these injuries to occur. Some of these mechanisms include: 

  • Poor posture
  • Over working
  • Poor lifting technique
  • Repetitive movement
  • Operating heavy machinery
  • Crawling into/in awkward spaces (such as roofs and floors which require your body to be in a compromised position for an extended period of time)

Why Chiropractic may be a great option for tradies

Chiropractic aims to get the body and its nervous system functioning at its best, therefore Chiropractic care may be a great option for tradies who currently experience pain, as well as for those who are looking for preventative care. Chiropractic may help with getting the body moving, functioning feeling better, in turn making work easier, more time efficient and pain free. There are many ways that Chiropractors can help achieve this, including:

  • Manual adjustments
  • Low force adjustments / techniques 
  • Soft tissue techniques 
  • Ergonomic advice
  • Rehabilitation programs 
  • And much more!

What can tradies do to reduce and avoid pain

1. Improve your posture

infographic showing what good and bad posture looks like

We all remember our days as children and teens when our parents would constantly hassle us to ‘sit up straight’, ‘roll your shoulders back’, and my personal favourite ‘stop slouching!’. As annoying as it was back then, we all have to admit it, they were right. Having good posture is key to allowing your body to function, move and feel its best. So how is posture affecting you as a tradie?

If your posture is poor, you are constantly putting your body into a position that is compromising the joints and how well they move, compromising how well joints can handle moving heavy items and materials, over time possibly leading to more serious conditions, such as osteoarthritis and degeneration.

Not only are joints and bones affected, but so is the nervous system. The nervous system – which is controlled by the brain – sends messages down through our nerves which exit between almost every vertebra (the individual bones that make up the spinal column). If we are compressing or narrowing the gap that these nerves run out of, we are compromising the messages coming from them, in turn leading to issues such as tight and tender muscles, feelings of weakness, numbness, tingling, shooting and many other issues. 

It’s never too late to start improving your posture – a good way to start is by being more aware of your posture in day to day life. Remember to stand tall, keep your shoulders back and hips in a neutral position.

2. Correct lifting technique – are you lifting correctly?

correct lifting technique info graphic

Having poor lifting technique is a sure fire way to injure your back, which is why I am here to guide you in the right direction! Before I explain proper lifting technique, I want you to understand why it is so important for the health of your spine. The spine is made up of many small parts – it’s important that they all work in sync together, as well as working in alignment with our arms, hips and legs. This means that we do not want some parts of the spine moving well, with other parts ‘stuck’. We also don’t want all the weight carried through our back and not lifted through our legs and arms evenly. Not carrying weight evenly can lead to a wide range of injuries, including sprains, strains, facet impingements and more.

As shown the above infographic, the best way to move and lift heavy objects is by lifting close to the body, generating force through the legs. When first starting a lift, make sure your feet are spread shoulder width apart, and you are standing very close to the object you wish to lift. Once you are standing close to/over your object, bend down at the knees and begin to lift with the force coming from  your lower limbs. Once upright, make sure to keep the object close to your body and walk at a safe and steady pace. When placing down a object, make sure to follow the same protocol, but in reverse.

3. Exercise and stretch – what exercises and stretches can you do to prevent/reduce pain?

man stretching hamstring and calves while taking a break from a run

There’s no doubt that the work tradies undertake takes a toll on the body – whether that be climbing up and down ladders, crawling into roof spaces and under houses, digging holes and trenches for hours on end, and many more awkward positions and movements. To tackle the potential or current discomfort you may be in, here are a few simple stretches and movements to do to help combat and prevent neck and back pain.

Neck stretches

Low back stretch

Infographic showing/describing how to do supine lower trunk rotations

Posture pole

Chiropractor demonstrating how to use posture pole

  1. While laying on the posture pole, you need to ensure that your head and lumbar spine is supported on the pole. You also need to make that your knees are bent with your feet flat on the floor with your arms extended up and out.
  2. While in this position, you should not be on your phone, reading a book or holding anything up in front of you. Use this time to relax and focus on your breathing.
  3. I recommend starting out doing this 3-5 minutes a night and slowly building up over time to 10 minutes a night.

Cat-cow mobilisation

cat cow mobilisation infographic

This mobilisation is great for mid back and low back stiffness

  1. Kneel on the ground in a four point position, hands shoulder width apart and supported, with knees underneath hips.
  2. Arch your back to the ceiling, holding the top of the stretch for two seconds
  3. Drop your stomach towards the ground, lifting your chin and chest up. Hold the position for two seconds.
  4. Repeat this movement 15 times, two times a day.

The bottom line

If you are a tradie who experiences back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or any other form of pain or injury – or you just want to maintain your body’s well being – now can be a great time to see a Chiropractor. The sooner you get checked out, the faster and better the outcome can be for yourself. If you have any questions about Chiropractic care for tradies, please feel free to contact any of our practices here at Total Health Chiropractic, or another health care professional for tailored advice on your condition.


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