In 2018-19 the UK had 581,000 self-reported cases of workers being a victim of non-fatal work-related injuries. Imagine how frustrated you’d be if you had to stop exercising due to an injury sustained at work. With this in mind, the cold-therapy experts at Biofreeze have compiled a list of the most common workplace injuries and how to avoid them…

Repetitive stress and overexertion injuries make up most workplace injuries and they are easily avoidable. Frequent causes of overexertion injuries include lifting, pushing, pulling, holding or carrying objects as part of one’s job. These injuries can lead to debilitating pain, resulting in time off work and needing to seek medical help. Here is a list of the four most common injuries caused by repetitive stress and overexertion in the workplace…

Back injuries 

Back injuries are one of the common issues in workplaces around the world and can be the cause of many people’s problems, even minor back pain can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life – let alone their ability to work productively. There is a multitude of reasons why back problems are so common, one of which is improper training.

Improper lifting technique is the main cause of back issues – yet it’s the easiest to fix. Employers are obligated to provide the correct training in jobs that require regular lifting, however, it’s often overlooked as it’s assumed everybody already knows how to lift correctly.

What to do about it: It’s recommended that you follow a few simple steps: lift with the legs and not the back, keep the object close to your body and keep your core tight; this will avoid putting too much strain on the back muscles. If you are suffering from a bad back then you should try and stretch twice a day, focusing on the lower back muscles, this will increase flexibility and mobility. There are also other ways of reducing the pain, such as cold therapies, muscle rubs and using equipment like foam rollers.

Muscle strains 

A muscle strain or a pulled muscle occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn. This is a common result of overexertion. Some of the most common symptoms of muscle strains are sudden onset of pain, soreness, limited range of movement, swelling and often a loss of strength.

There is a variety of reasons why you may experience muscle strains. Of course, overworking and fatigue play a big role, however, there are other factors such as poor flexibility and conditioning.

What to do about it: Warming up for work is a great way to avoid pulling muscles. This does not mean doing a full-on sports warm-up, but adding a few stretches into your morning routine will massively reduce the chances of straining a muscle. If you do pick up a muscle strain it is a good idea to follow the simple steps of P.O.L.I.C.E. (updated from I.C.E.): Protect, Optimal Load, Ice, Compress and Elevate.

Ice pack on sore leg

 Neck injuries 

The most common minor neck injuries that occur in the workplace are soft tissue damage, pulled muscles and ligament or tendon damage. These injuries can be sustained through heavy lifting, slips, trips and falls and falling objects. Similar to back injuries, they can be extremely debilitating and have long-term effects.

What to do about it: The best way to avoid neck injuries from overexertion is not to overdo it – this may sound too simple but taking regular breaks when carrying out heavy lifting jobs is crucial and will potentially save you a lot of pain. Similarly, don’t try and lift things that feel uncomfortable.

For many office workers, neck pain is a result of sitting awkwardly at a desk all day. This can be easily solved by being more aware of your posture and ensuring that your computer screen is at eye level.

Joint, tendon and connective tissue injuries

If you have a manual job the chances are you will have suffered from joint pain at some point. It can affect the whole body but is most commonly occurring in the elbows, wrists, knees and back. Joint injuries are usually caused by repetitive movement and it doesn’t have to be from overexertion, simply doing the same job over many years can create problems.

What to do about it: Unfortunately, these injuries aren’t as easily avoidable as others. If you work in a job where you repeat the same action multiple times, then it might be an idea to look at using joint supports for your knees, wrists or elbows. Advances in sports science have provided us with some extremely good products that can be of huge benefit.

Sore knee joint