How to prevent work-related ailments

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Low back pain can be prevented by keeping in mind proper body positioning

A lot of men suffer from work-related ailments and diseases particularly those in industries and professions that demand physical and mental exertion.

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According to Makati Medical Center’s chairman of the Department of Phyiscal Medicine and Rehabilitation Vicente Antonio Reloza, the most common ailment Filipino working men suffer is back problems.

“There are multifactorial causes for low back pain. Some of these include a sedentary lifestyle, weakness of one’s core muscles and the beginning changes of aging. A combination of these, plus loads placed on the spine such as in improper lifting, may lead to a more specific diagnosis such as a herniated disk,” he shared.

He explained further that when a disk herniates or “slips” it can impinge on an exiting nerve. In this case, pain is usually felt not only in the low back area but in either or both legs as well.

He then suggested how low back pain can be prevented by keeping in mind proper body positioning.

Preventing and relieving pain
“If at work, for example, make sure to use the seat back rest to keep one from slouching,” Reloza said. “When at home and needing to lift a heavy water bottle off the floor, for example, bend both knees, keep object close to you and lift up keeping your back straight.”

He added, “For severe pain, sudden in onset, place a cold pack over the painful area, 10 to 15 minutes at a time every four hours for the first three days. After three days, a hot pack may be used. It also would be best to visit a specialist such as a Rehabilitation Medicine doctor who will prescribe a physical therapy program aimed at pain relief, improving your core strength and flexibility.

According to the medical practitioner, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications should be used under the guidance of a medical specialist and should not be taken for an indefinite period of time.

Keeping the heart healthy    
Meanwhile, cardiologist Lourdes Dorion-Diaz explained that the function of the heart is “the engine of the body” and it plays a highly critical role in one’s health and well-being.

“It is made up of muscles and blood vessels which pumps around two gallons of blood for our body every day. It is very important that we maintain it in good condition always as it is affected by non-modifiable factors, like our genes, or modifiable factors, through healthy lifestyle like proper diet, exercise, not smoking, and personality or attitude,” she said.

She suggested to have a check-up even if there’s no unusual feeling like nausea or palpitation.

“For how do we say that we truly have a good engine when we don’t have it checked?” she asked.

Common heart diseases are heart attacks, heart failure, and coronary artery disease. It helps to nourish the heart by drinking two liters of water a day, to eat food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as broccoli and salmon, and make time for regular exercise. Managing stress levels is also a way to prevent developing heart disease and a host of other illnesses.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an inflammatory disorder that is caused by repetitive stress and movements and usually afflicts the wrist and hands.

Its name is derived from the space in the wrist—called carpal tunnel—that is surrounded by bones and ligaments. The median nerve that sends signals to the brain so that the hands can move properly passes through this space.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when repeated bending or movements of the wrist, for example, cause inflammation or swelling.

The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are pain, a tingling sensation, and shaking of the hand.

Normally, people in occupations that involve heavy lifting, or repeated movements of the wrists and hands like painting, mechanical work, typing, carpentry, assembly work, and the like, are at risk of this disorder.

When one starts showing symptoms, doctors advise rest, take anti-inflammatory drugs, use cold packs, wear a splint and, if possible, avoid activities that could aggravate the injury.

Perforated eardrum
The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the inner ear. A perforated—or ruptured—eardrum has a tear or hole that is usually caused by infections, changes in air pressure, injuries, and sudden loud noises or explosions.

A perforated eardrum usually heals on its own. However, there are cases when medical intervention or even surgery is needed, especially when it leads to infections and hearing loss.

Symptoms of a perforated eardrum include sharp pain and ringing sound in the ear, hearing loss, and bleeding or fluid discharge.

If one travels a lot by air, or is exposed to noise and other environmental hazards, it is advisable to protect the ears by wearing the appropriate hearing protection devices.

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