Your body is a complex machine, much like a car. Except instead of having the “check engine” light come on when there’s a problem, your body lets you know it requires assistance by giving you aches, pains, and spasms.
The old saying goes if something hurts, don’t do it, but that’s patronizing in a way because your body’s aches and pains are trying to tell you what’s going on beneath the surface. By listening to your body’s cries for help, you can keep your business’s most expensive, most valuable tool and asset in tip-top condition.
Honor Your Aches
Aches and pains have a number of causes but they’re almost always a sign that something’s wrong with your muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments or tendons. Figuring out what the problem is isn’t always straightforward, which is why doctors undergo so much training. Still, there are a few things you can do to minimize your discomfort while you try to determine the source of your woes.
Icing sore and swollen areas intermittently can reduce inflammation, and over the counter pain relievers can reduce pain and inflammation as well.
If it’s a limb, elevating it can also relieve some discomfort, and, of course, rest is best when you’re hurting. There’s no shame in slowing down and taking frequent breaks when you’re hurting on the job site.
Getting to the Source
Sometimes you can trace your pain to a specific event – falling from a ladder yesterday is likely why your back hurts today, for example. Or repetitive tasks that cause aches in your arms and legs the day after. In these cases, home remedies often can see you through without necessitating a trip to your doctor.
On the other hand, some aches and pains are tied to injuries incurred long ago or may be a sign of a budding systemic problem, illness or disease. When in doubt or if seemingly minor aches and pains don’t resolve in a day or so with home care, consult a medical professional.
Preventing Aches and Pains
Preventing aches and pains is often easier than taking time off work to rest and heal them properly. Try to eat right and exercise regularly. Drink water and avoid stimulants and depressants like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, if possible – all of which can delay healing or increase your chances of injury to begin with.
By keeping your body in as good overall health as possible, it’s less likely you’ll succumb to minor injuries and you’ll spend far less time recovering from them than someone who ignores their overall health.
Even an attempt at maintaining good health is better for your aches and pains than none at all: remember – progress, not perfection.
Listen to Your Body
It’s no surprise that you can worsen an injury or cause more problems if you try to ignore aches, pains or spasms, and just power through them. You might get a job finished quicker, but you’re putting more wear and tear on your body in the long run.
As a contractor, your body is the most valuable tool you have and it’s the only one you can’t replace. So take a day off when you need to, honor the signals your body is sending you and, when in doubt, consult a medical professional to get back on the jobsite sooner and without pain.