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What baggage handlers need to know about shoulder impingement

What do you get when you combine an unrelenting schedule, heavy objects, extreme weather and moving equipment? A day in the life of a baggage handler.

Baggage handlers often get a bad rap. With frequent media coverage about the rising costs of airline tickets, many customers arrive at the airport feeling that they've been swindled. Staring out the window before takeoff, it's easy for passengers to critique the grounds crew, but what many passengers don't realize is, they couldn't survive one day out there.

As a result of handling thousands of heavy bags each day, baggage handlers are frequently working through serious injuries. Many of those injuries land them on the table of an orthopedic surgeon.

Shoulder impingement

Often presenting as persistent shoulder pain, shoulder impingement occurs when a bone in the shoulder pinches or constricts the tendons or bursa. Shoulder impingement is a serious condition which requires treatment or risk of further injury. New research, however, calls into question the effectiveness of the commonly ordered shoulder impingement surgery.

Shoulder impingement study

According to the article posted in Science Daily by researchers at the University of Helsinki, the number of shoulder impingement surgeries has increased significantly in recent years, without any solid evidence of its effectiveness.

The research, released in July of 2018, compared surgical treatment of shoulder impingement to a placebo surgery. The study found that two years later, both groups reported the same outcome: little to no shoulder pain.

If given the choice between having a surgery or undergoing physical therapy for shoulder impingement, most people would probably choose the less invasive physical therapy. But regardless of choice, it's helpful to have the facts before going under the knife.

Be sure to review baggage handler safety tips, here.

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