For many contractors, particularly those who specialize in a specific area, one risk that should be watched for on a regular basis is injury based on overuse or repetitive motions. Those who don’t take the proper steps to protect themselves may deal with chronic pain over time, but there are also some basic ways you can prevent this from happening.
At Contractor’s School, we’re proud to serve as not just providers of contractor license classes and exam preparation, but also of assistance in several areas to existing contracting businesses in fields like HVAC, roofing and many others. Avoiding injury is a common topic among contractors and those looking to become contractors, and overuse injuries are some of the most common. Here’s a primer on spotting the signs of overuse, plus how to avoid these risks.
Within many areas of contracting and construction, significant physical labor is required. This means that many in the field will deal with aches and pains – these are not the same as specific overuse injuries, however. If you recognize any of these symptoms, though, you may be dealing with overuse concerns:
Now, these symptoms won’t always show up directly after overuse. They may show up hours or even days later.
Our next several sections will go over prevention methods for overuse injuries.
Just like you need to wear proper safety equipment for various jobs, you should also wear the right gear to support any areas where you’ve had pain or injuries – or areas you know you’ll be using often on a given job. If you know you’ll be swinging a hammer regularly and have had wrist issues, for instance, you should wear a wrist brace. We also strongly recommend supportive footwork, which takes pressure off the back, neck and shoulders.
Wherever possible, try to vary up your work during a given day. If you’re repeating the same action hundreds of times over and over, the chances of an overuse injury rise. If straining activities must be done in repetition, try to limit them to short windows.
For some contractors, outside strength training is hugely valuable. This builds muscle and allows for proper support of areas that are often used on the job – and it might improve your appearance, too, so there’s no major downside.
Finally, if you’re a contractor who takes some or all of the above steps and still deals with chronic pain issues, you could be in need of medical assistance. Either a general doctor or sports medicine doctor will be experienced with these kinds of injuries, and can give you additional tips or approaches to take.