Health Tips For Mechanics and Car Enthusiasts – Guest Blog by Tyler Hamel

Photo of highlighted back pain

Health Tips For Mechanics and Car Enthusiasts

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Problems:

  1. Auto mechanics are in the top 10 jobs that cause back pain.  Because mechanics are working in awkward positions all day, there is a significant postural stress on their body.  Think of it this way, if I have a 15 pound weight and I hold it out in front of me I can only hold it for so long before my shoulder gets tired.  If I hold a 15 pound weight to my chest, I can hold it a lot longer because my spine and core can support a lot of the weight.  For mechanics, the further you have to reach away from your body, ie to fix something, take out a part, replace a part; this puts a lot of stress on your shoulder, neck and back.
  2. The second issue that mechanics have, especially here in Houston in the summer time, is dehydration.  The body cools itself by sweating, if you are not well hydrated your body will suffer.  Common symptoms of dehydration are headaches, fatigue, brain fog, muscle cramping and light headedness.  The combination of dehydration and prolonged postural stress is a recipe for injury.  Keep in mind the body does a really good job of adapting to stressors, but once the threshold has been broken, your body says “ too bad buddy, you are on your own”, and boom, low back spasm, neck pain, can’t turn your neck, can’t lift your arm over your head.

Solutions:

  1. Whenever working on a car, whether under the hood or under the car, try and get as close to the part or area you are trying to work on.
  2. Think about your posture when you are slouching, do the opposite of this every 2 hours, just for a couple of minutes to remind your body of what proper posture it, this is breaking the cycle of bad posture.  Your body will not feel near as sore if you do these exercises.
  3. Stretch before and after work, stretch your back, hamstrings, hip flexors, neck and shoulders.  You can only work muscles and joints so hard before they give up on you, doing the activities of a mechanic means you are working out the muscle and joints.  To balance things out you need to stretch the muscle and joint as well.
  4. Stay hydrated, the rule of thumb is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces per day of water, so if you are 200 lbs, drink 100 ounces per day.  If you are working in a hot environment, you can easily drink more and I would recommend drinking more because you will be sweating so much.

You can reach Dr. Tyler Hamel for answers to your specific health questions!

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