Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2013

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technique classroom to client | @work | Energy work | Myofascial techniques Building Treatments for Construction Workers' Injuries By Whitney Lowe As with many occupations involving intense physical labor and repetitive motion, construction workers develop a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders. There is a 75 percent probability that a construction worker will suffer a disabling injury during an average 45-year career.1 Low-back pain due to heavy lifting is the most frequent problem. Lower-extremity overuse disorders, such as plantar fasciitis, are also common, as are cumulative trauma disorders from repetitive motion tasks. Occupational injury statistics also cite a high frequency of serious acute injuries that occur in this worker population, the large majority involving sprains and strains. Although relatively common, sprains and strains can lead to time off work, chronic pain that interferes with work, and more serious and disabling conditions. Nailing down the specific tissues involved in a client's particular presentation will ultimately predict how successful your treatment will be. Understanding the physiological aspects of what occurs during ligament sprains and muscle strains is important, and will also help you accurately evaluate the injury so that your treatments specifically target the affected tissues. Particular massage treatment techniques are quite successful in reducing pain and encouraging healing in these common conditions. Ligament Sprains The primary function of ligaments is to connect adjacent bones. While the bones provide the rigid support for our body, we are reliant on the ligaments to efficiently tie each of these rigid segments together. Ligaments must allow certain motions, but prevent others. Within each ligament, the fibers predominantly go in one direction. This gives the ligament its greatest strength in that direction, and the greatest capability to resist forces that come from that direction (Image 1). However, ligaments also contain fibers that run crosswise, allowing for additional strength and pliability when tensile forces are applied from other directions. This helps the joint withstand large force loads without causing more significant tissue injury. 106 massage & bodywork january/february 2013

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