MUSCLE IMBALANCE PATTERNS IN THE WORKPLACE
The following professions involve similar muscle imbalances that over time can cause many different injuries, but using our Injury prediction and prevention web-based software will prevent injuries from forming or advancing to surgery!
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A bus driver, truck driver, and computer programmer are all sedentary positions with at least 8 hours of sitting a day. But, don’t let the lack of motion fool you, these are some of the top sedentary high-risk injury jobs out there. The consistent lack of movement associated with sedentary work can cause severe muscle imbalances, just like jobs with physical repetitive motions can.
These are the muscle imbalance patterns caused by excessive sitting:
- Lower back (weak)
- Rhomboids (weak)
- Core (weak)
- Flexors (weak)
- Extensors (tight)
- Chest (tight)
- Shoulders Anterior (tight)
- Hip flexors (tight)
- Hamstrings (tight)
Commonly injured areas because of these imbalances:
- Lower and upper back
- Cervical and rotator cuff
- All physical jobs like sanitation, construction and road workers, loggers, stockers, UPS/FedEx drivers, mine and field workers are a MUST when finding muscle imbalances before injuries occur. Workers in physical jobs are at the highest risk of injury, not just because of the physical nature of the job but because of the physical strain the body goes through day in and day out.
- The key to saving millions, if not billions, of dollars in worker’s compensation claims is ensuring that the physical baseline of the employee is in the healthy zone. Being proactive and implementing a corrective program as soon as possible prevents injury and loss of production. It is key to saving huge and creating healthy and productive employees in the workplace.
Stages of muscle imbalance in the workplace:
Beginning stage: Aching, stiffness, feeling exhausted, tired or pain in or around the affected area or limb, this occurs during the work shift but disappear at night and during days off work. No reduction of work performed in this phase.
(This is the stage that this needs to be addressed so there is no reduction of work and no injury can occur.)
Intermediate stage: Aching, tiredness, irritability, feeling exhausted physically and mentally. This occurs early in the work shift and persists into pain and stiffness at night. Reduced capacity for repetitive work. Injury can occur at this stage.
Advanced stage: Aching, fatigue, and weakness persist at rest. Inability to sleep and to perform light duties. Feeling irritable, in pain and mentally and/or physically overwhelmed. Injury can occur at this stage.
Immobile: In this stage the joints have created scar tissue and, in some cases, calcium build up. This occurs when there is so much stress in an area that it is trying to protect itself. The area will tighten and the tissue will harden in order to create a splint to protect that movement. Injury can occur at this stage
Not everyone will go through these stages in the same way. Be aware of the first aches and pains as it is a sign that the muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons are becoming weak, overworked, tightened and in need of a balancing program either by stretching or strengthening. Otherwise, an injury can become longstanding, and sometimes, irreversible. The earlier the individual recognize the symptoms, the more quickly and efficiently the balancing programs can work.
All Symptoms Mean Something
Pain: Shooting pain, electric twinge or numbness – usually nerve, throbbing, dull- usually swelling or inflammation
Sounds: popping, snapping, grinding are all normal (without pain)
All sounds with pain need to be addressed by a doctor
Reasons for most symptoms, injury or pain:
- Muscle imbalance
- Degenerate bone, cartilage
The Top Areas of Complaints and Injuries:
- Back- bulging disk, pinch nerve, strain
- Shoulders –restriction, pain in shoulder joint
- Hands/wrists/elbows – pain with grip, carpal tunnel, numbness
- Feet- numb or pain while standing
- Neck- pain, nerve, stiff, numbness
Knowing what imbalances are present ahead of time allows the individual to understand what is needed. Corrections include stretch, isolated resistance, rest, pre or post-rehab, or last resort –surgery. It is smart for the employer to be proactive when getting employees on a balancing program, they will have a longer work life and be able to do a more efficient job because the employee is 100% focused on the job, not the pain.
Being proactive promotes longevity, not only in an employee’s physical work life but also in the quality of life for that individual.