Helping Territory tradies stay healthy

Department of Health

August is Tradies National Health Month and NT Health is encouraging Territory tradies to look after their health.

Tradies National Health Month raises awareness of the health and injury risks affecting those who work in trade occupations-among tradies themselves, their families, employers and the wider community.

Royal Darwin Hospital Physiotherapist Erin Pechey said tradies make up 30 percent of the Australian workforce but due to the intensity and repetitive nature of their work, tradies account for a large percentage of workplace injuries.

“Most people are aware physiotherapists can provide education, treatment and support for common tradie injuries including low back pain, ankle sprains and shoulder injuries. However physiotherapists can also assist in treatment of more complex health conditions that can be exacerbated from the demanding nature of tradie work including diabetes, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and recovery from stroke,” Miss Pechey said.

“By facilitating a faster recovery time, this can reduce time off work and the financial strain workplace injuries can have on tradies and their families.”

“Feeling sore is not normal, regardless of the work you do. A recent survey led by the Australian Physiotherapy Association found that tradesman are now more active and exercising more regularly than ever, which is great.”

Miss Pechey said the most common type of tradesman injury reported are joint, ligament, soft tissue and musculoskeletal injuries.

“Some injuries we cannot prevent and may happen under unlucky circumstances. However being healthy and strong can help to reduce the risk and facilitate a faster recovery of injuries.”

This can include going for a walk or bike ride, swimming and strength-based exercises such as pilates or weights.

“Tradesman also do not have to wait until they are injured to see a physio. We can provide advice and strategies to reduce the risk of injury as well as tailor strength and conditioning programs that are specific to a tradesman lifestyles and line of work,” Miss Pechey said.

Here are a few simple step for Tradies

  • Warm up each morning before you start work with some targeted stretches, such as quadricep stretches (front of the thigh) if your work involves lots of squatting
  • If you can, alternate tasks throughout the day to avoid issues related to overuse and fatigue
  • Communicate well with your workmates to ensure you are working in the most efficient and safe manner
  • Don’t put yourself at risk of injury by rushing
  • Seek advice from your physiotherapist if you experience any aches or pains that are persistent, rather than waiting until it’s bad enough to stop you from continuing work
  • Manage acute injuries with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

For advice contact your GP or an accredited physiotherapist.

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