Cable jointing has long been recognized as a highly specialized and skilled job in the construction industry. I always remembered being an apprentice and noticing when the cable jointer came to our site. They were always confident and had a magnetic presence that seemed to be admired by electricians. Immediately I knew that was the path I wanted to take post apprenticeship. I completed many courses over the years eventually obtaining my certificate III and becoming a dual trade jointer/electrician.
In the beginning it seemed to be a dream come true. I loved getting my hands dirty and was not afraid of a bit of hard work however after thousands and thousands of joints and terminations my body was taking a beating. I began to develop repetitive stress injuries (RSI) in my joints and tendons. The constant turning and clamping of my hands, awkward positions, and overall mechanical stress from bending large cables into place would render me crippled after each long day. Working sometimes weeks in a row without a day off I quickly realized I had to take some preventative measures to keep the injury at bay.
I researched and researched trying to get to the bottom of what was happening to my body. RSI was typically an inflammation response due to overuse of a joint or tissues of the body. As recommended by my physiotherapist, I started taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID’s). While this worked initially, after a few weeks of everyday use I developed side effects significant enough to make me understand this was not the best solution.
Being quite discouraged I dug a little deeper into inflammation in the body and tried to understand it from a different perspective. As with a lot of other diseases related to inflammation, I found some articles relating to diet and its effects on chronic inflammation (1). I began experimenting with eliminating certain foods and food groups from my diet. Carbohydrates seemed to have the biggest response with regards to inflammation, so I cut majority of them out completely. I also found some fruits and vegetables equally as influential and began cutting them out also. It did take a lot of experimenting however the result was similar to the effects of the NSAID’s but without the nasty side effects.
In combination with the diet restrictions I also found supplementing my diet with collagen hydrolysate peptides to be greatly beneficial. At the time it seemed to make perfect sense to me. Since collagen proteins are usually present in the connective tissues of animals which modern diets do not regularly include, I figured including this would help reduce the risk of further deterioration of my joints and tissues (2). While not a perfect solution it has helped me maintain my high work output and manage my RSI at the same time. Now every time I see another jointer who seems to suffer the same problems I was suffering; I happily pass the information I have found onto them in hope it might help them also.
We would love to hear if you have been affected by RSI injuries and how you managed the problem to continue working.
*Please note, this is my personal experience only. I am not a health professional and do not suggest implementing any changes to your diet, exercise regime or health schedule without speaking to the relevant fully qualified health professionals first.