Work-related chronic or recurrent pain is a major health problem for many Americans. Many people suffer from Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) characterized by symptoms such as numbness, spasm, soreness, pain and muscle fatigue.
Some of the causes of MSDs include:
- Static postures e.g. sitting or standing for too long
- Sitting in front of a computer most of the day
- Awkward postures e.g. hunching the head and shoulders
- Use of force
- Repetitive tasks with little or no breaks
- Cold temperatures
- Vibration (caused by driving heavy equipment or using hand-held power tools)
Here are some techniques that will help you relieve the pain.
When it comes to work-related injuries, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some of the ways you can prevent MSDs:
- Relax. Don’t allow your shoulders, hands and fingers to be too tense while working
- Avoid using too much force when squeezing the mouse or hitting the keys
- Take frequent breaks when doing repetitious work
- Keep your fingers and hands warm. Gloves could come in very handy for this
- When working at the desk, keep your back straight. Don’t slouch or hunch over the computer
- Avoid fast, sudden motions that involve a snap or jerk
Pain relief gels and creams
Gels and creams such as Bengay, Myoflex, Icy Hot, Aspercreme, Capzasin-HP and Voltaren can be very effective in relieving pain. Other advanced products based on natural ingredients such as CBDMEDIC can also be found Over the Counter these days. CBDMEDIC is one of the few FDA-registered infused with CBD hemp extract that offer temporary relief from minor pain and aches of the joints and muscles.
Its active ingredients are Menthol (10%) and Camphor (10%). The cream also contains active ingredients such as tea tree oil, peppermint oil, cotton seed oil, clove oil, jojoba seed oil and beeswax (organic).
Exercise is very important for proper disc nutrition, cardiovascular health and musculoskeletal health. It also produces endorphins, a chemical that helps block pain signals while also improving your mood.
Some of the exercise options you could explore include flexion exercises, water therapy, aerobic routines and strength training. Besides managing pain, exercise will also help control your blood sugar levels, lower heart diseases risk and keep your weight down.
Massage is a great non-drug, non-invasive pain management technique. It not only works tension out of joints and muscles, but also relieves anxiety and stress.
Some of the massage techniques available include Acupressure, Neuromuscular Therapy, Reflexology, Myofascial Release and Swedish massage.
Cold and heat therapy can be a very effective strategy for treating work-related pain. Heat is suitable for chronic pains and aches, while cold is for sudden, intense swelling or pain.
Warm therapies include heating packs, heating pads, saunas, warm baths, hot towels and whirlpools. You can use ice packs or cold gels and sprays for cold treatment.
Other pain management techniques you could explore include biofeedback, mind-body techniques, surgery and Electrotherapy. You might need to apply a combination of these techniques before experiencing relief from your pain. Remember, you can minimize MSDs in future by changing your work habits, styles and environment.