PREHAB: Posture, Pain and Function

Muscles, tendons, joints and nerves are extremely susceptible to injury, when under stressful situations or traumatised over an extended period. Regardless of the occupation, most of the working population are involved in completing repetitive movements and maintaining postures for long periods of time. Based on current literature the most common injuries in the workplace are the lower back, neck and shoulders. These affected areas then cause a reduction in the productivity of companies, therefore implementing health and safety strategies may reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries.

At the end of August, Absolute Balance conducted an initiative for Iluka Resources to address pre-existing injuries and/or physical goals of the current employees; this program was called “PREHAB”. The program involved conducting an initial assessment for 30 minutes, which included a health and lifestyle questionnaire and a functional assessment (Range of motion, special tests and manual muscle testing). This allowed the Absolute Balance team to construct a comprehensive exercise program to address physical discrepancies or imbalances of each of the employees. Each employee was provided with an exercise program addressing sets, repetitions and rest periods, accompanied by self-managing equipment (foam rollers, spikey balls and resistance bands). This provided the employees with the tools to tackle any pre-existing injuries they may have.

Most injuries that were assessed by Absolute Balance included lower back pain, bursitis, tennis or golfers’ elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, general tightness/soreness, postural imbalances and many more. The main goal of the initiative was to empower the employees with exercises that would provide symptomatic relief of the area of concern, while strengthening the surrounding musculature. When completing the functional assessments, a common re-occurrence of the employees were postural imbalances of the upper and lower limbs e.g rounded shoulders. This may be caused either from poor ergonomics and or repetitive movements in sustained postures under load (Wang, 2016).

Corporate wellness programs have received a rejuvenating jolt in the past several years whether it be group classes, nutritional advice and or health checks. Another area that should not be overlooked is the employees’ physical posture. Like physical activity, good posture is linked with a range of health and well-being benefits. Several studies have concluded that implementing exercises such as resistance-based and or stretching has a positive effect on postural imbalances, reducing the impact of workplace musculoskeletal pain (Kim & lee, 2004; Kim et al., 2015). The main goal of PREHAB was to empower employees with exercise programs to address underlying musculoskeletal injuries, that cause discomfort in working tasks or other activities. The program received good feedback from the employees as it provided education and the tools to complete the exercises at home or at work.

If you believe that your company would benefit from a program such as “PREHAB”, get in contact with us today either by emailing info@absolutebalance.com.au or calling us on 9244 5580.

 

David McClung, B.Sc. Exercise Science and Rehabilitation (AEP, AES) (ESSAM)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist

References:

Kim, J. K., & Lee, S. J. (2004). Effect of stretching exercise as work-related musculoskeletal pain of neck and shoulder. J Kor Alliance Health Phys Edu43(43), 655-62.

Kim, D., Cho, M., Park, Y., & Yang, Y. (2015). Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science27(6), 1791-1794.

Wang, C. (2016). Good Posture and its Wealth of Benefits to the Workplace. Lumo Bodytech.