I’ve been a city girl all my life and before I worked in Moora I didn’t have a thorough understanding of the soft tissues injuries that result from farming work. Most of these conditions are the result of repetitive tasks that put stress on the same areas of muscle or joint over and over again.
Here is an overview of what my experience in Moora has taught me about soft tissue injuries:
- Farmers Elbow: inflammation of the tendons at the elbow, usually from sheep work (this is like a tennis elbow but without the tennis). If treated early these respond well to a course of ultrasound therapy and supportive taping in conjunction with home exercises. Chronic cases can become very painful and may respond to a steroid injection.
- Tractor Back: muscular aches & pains in the lower back muscles from bouncing around on the tractor. Deep tissue therapy is the key to getting these right, usually in conjunction with manipulation of the joints in the lower lumbar spine and the pelvis. This condition responds well to ongoing care, every 6 – 8 weeks depending on the severity of symptoms.
- Tractor neck: results from always looking over the right shoulder whilst driving over an unstable surface i.e. a paddock. This sort of pain can refer from the neck muscles to the shoulder muscles and restrict movement considerably. It can also cause difficulty getting comfortable in bed at night. Tractor neck requires lots of deep tissue work around the shoulder & mobilisation of the joints in the cervical spine. Tractor neck seems to require less regular care than tractor back.
- Header shoulder: this is a result of having the right arm held at 90 degrees while operating the joystick on the head. Again, this is tissue damage from the result of a repetitive task. If this develops into an impingement syndrome they can be tough to get right but they do respond well to ultrasound therapy & supportive taping. There are usually restrictions in the neck that require manipulation as well as in the mid back, between the shoulder blades. Thorough movement assessment and exercise prescription will help to reduce recovery time.