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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dougley

Taking care of your spine when you are in a helping profession

Those who are in a helping profession often forget about self care. Especially when it comes to the health of their spine. But the spine is vitally important, and should be maintained so that a career in a helping profession can last a lifetime.

This article will give practical advice about caring for the health of your spine if you are in a helping profession. The tips provided here will help those who are nurses, doctors, dentists, counsellors and any other profession that involves caring for patients on a daily basis.

The tips are also useful for those who support these professionals such as admin assistants and receptionists.

1. Stretch

Stretching the spine is something that can be achieved in as little as 20 minutes per day and can help relieve tight sore muscles. Stretching requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere.

Those in a helping profession often experience stress which can cause chronic muscle tension in the neck area and upper back. Stretching is so simple yet so effective for maintaining flexibility and helping to prevent injuries at the workplace.

There are plenty of good stretching routines that can be found online, and taking the time to search for one that suits your particular needs is a worthwhile investment of time.

If you are mostly sitting at work, then incorporating postural stretches is key to a good routine. Those who sit also want to focus on stretching their neck or cervical spine, because this will often become tight while sitting all day at work. It is also the area where many people hold their stress, so it should be part of everyone's routine.

If your job requires a lot of lifting and assisting patients then be sure to work on stretching your low back or lumbar spine. This is the part of the spine that gets injured the most when lifting, so be sure to stay limber and stretch before every shift to reduce the chance of injury.

If you don't know where to begin, consider a beginner yoga class or video. These routines usually incorporate the necessary stretches for your spine and will help you uncover areas you need to focus on more.

2. Wear Good Shoes Supportive footwear should be considered in any profession that involves the person being on their feet. It is especially important for those who are on hard concrete or tile floors, like in a hospital.

Make sure your shoes have a good amount of cushion in the heel to prevent heel pain. This is a common problem people can develop known as plantar fasciitis.

Good footwear helps preserve our spine health too because if our feet are not supported properly, then this can put pressure on the knees, hips and low back, which can all become problematic if the feet are not supported.

3. Desk Ergonomics

Those who work at a desk for long hours need to consider proper desk ergonomics. A sit - stand desk is usually the best solution to help reduce pressure on your low back from sitting all day. Standing up at a desk allows you to move around a bit more, which will help keep your joints loose.

It is also necessary to step away from your desk for a few minutes every hour so you can walk, stretch and move around. This too helps reduce pressure on our spines and prevents spinal problems that can result from sitting too much.

When making your workspace more ergonomic, consider the placement of the other devices you use. Your computer should of course be in front of you, but also think about where the phone, printer, point of sale or other devices are located and if you are constantly reaching for them. Although reaching for things once in a while is not going to cause any problems, if you are reaching continually throughout your day for certain items, this could lead to spine or other joint / muscle problems from chronic strain.

Most larger workplaces and hospitals will have someone on staff who can help employees make their work stations more ergonomic. Even if you don't have any problems now, getting your workstation in order can help prevent future injuries and pain.

4. See A Chiropractor

Seeing a Chiropractor is the perfect way to help maintain spine health. Those who are in a helping profession should strongly consider making this part of their wellness routine so that they can reduce the chance of injury at work and enjoy long lasting good spine health even into retirement.

As mentioned before, a job in the helping profession can cause a lot of stress and overuse type injuries. Slips, falls and strains can occur easily. Seeing a chiropractor if something like this has happened is a good step towards healing and seeing a chiropractor regularly can help reduce the chance of injury and strain on your spine, giving you the best chance at a long career of helping patients.

If you or someone you know is in a helping profession, please consider sharing this article with them. Maintaining good spine health is vital for everyone, and those in a helping profession often forget about themselves.

Dr. Spenser Dougley DC, FR, FRCms

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