Many workers, especially those with sedentary jobs, may scoff at the notion that a preexisting injury could be aggravated at work. However, this scenario is one that does play out for many people.
Why? There are many potential reasons why a preexisting injury may be aggravated while you’re at work. For one thing, your work environment or tasks could be the source of your injury in the first place. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2019. Your tasks might also rely on movements that strain an injured area of your body. Physical therapists can help treat an injury that you have, and they can also offer several tips that can help ensure that your preexisting injury isn’t aggravated while you’re at work.
Five tips that can help preexisting injury aggravation while you’re at work:
- Improve the ergonomics of your workspace.
Ergonomics is the study of how humans interact with objects in their environment. Often, this discipline is used to help improve the safety of workspaces. Your physical therapist may recommend taking steps to improve your workspace ergonomics if you’ve been injured. For instance, office workers may be prompted to retrofit their workspace with ergonomic chairs and keyboards.
- Don’t just sit all day.
There is plenty of research out there about the negative effects too much sitting can have. That’s why your physical therapist may suggest standing up while you’re doing certain work tasks. A desk that allows you to switch from sitting to standing is one way to put this advice into practice.
- Do some stretches.
Your physical therapist may also recommend that you do some therapeutic stretching exercises while you’re at work. They can show you stretches that can help promote healing and reduce pain. They can also help you develop an at-work stretching regimen that’s designed to be easy to do and non-intrusive.
- Ask to temporarily switch duties.
There are times when you won’t be able to do certain work tasks without aggravating a preexisting injury. Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t do any tasks at all. Your physical therapist can help you understand which work tasks you can do safely with your injury. They may also prompt you to talk with your boss about switching to doing only certain tasks while you are recovering. You may even need to ask to switch jobs temporarily. For instance, a worker who is on their feet a lot might ask to be temporarily reassigned to desk work if they sprain an ankle.
- Have a functional capacity evaluation before resuming normal work duties.
Many people resume their normal work duties too soon after an injury. This often leads to re-injury or to a completely different injury. Physical therapists can help ensure that you’re ready to return to your normal work tasks. The way they can do so is to put you through a functional capacity evaluation. This four- to five-hour test is intended to test your functional capacity to perform a variety of normal daily activities.
SOL PT can help ensure that you don’t aggravate a preexisting injury at work
Keen to avoid aggravating a preexisting injury while you are at work? Let our physical therapists at SOL Physical Therapy help you. Our specialists have experience diagnosing and treating a wide array of sports, work, and car accident injuries. They can also help build you a plan that is unique to your needs and designed to:
- Reduce your pain.
- Improve your flexibility and range of motion.
- Increase your ability to do normal daily activities.
- Lower your risk of aggravating a current injury or developing future injuries.
Contact our team today for more information about how we can treat your injury or to schedule an initial appointment to begin treating your injury.