Ep. 51 – Physical Therapist Doug Conroy on Protecting Your Body at Work

By Noah Graff

On today’s podcast I interview Dr. Doug Conroy of Conroy Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Doug has been treating injured folks for decades, including me as I rehab my left Achilles tendon. Our interview focuses on the negative effects a workplace environment can have on the human body.

Scroll down to listen to the podcast

Doug told me that in the past, workplace health risks were mostly associated with accidents in industrial settings. However, he says that many of today’s experts consider office jobs with constant sitting as possibly more dangerous to workers’ health, going as far as to characterize sitting as “the new smoking.”

Main points of the interview 

(2:55) Doug explains his expertise in the field of orthopedic physical therapy.

(5:18) Doug explains that the association of workplace health risks with an industrial setting is changing. Arguably, the largest threat to the health of the working population is prolonged sitting, which he characterizes as “the new smoking.”

(11:00 – 16:00) Doug recommends workers change position after 20 to 30 minutes, regardless of their posture. He says that it is generally healthier to be a mechanic who moves around than to work at a desk.

(16:00) Doug explains how many people do not seek medical advice or physical therapy soon enough. As a result, it can take twice as long to reverse the bad habits their bodies have become accustomed to.

(17:00) Doug describes various scenarios where surgery should be performed or abstained from. He cites medical studies which show that many doctors recommend unnecessary surgeries.

(20:10) Doug talks about the use of prescription pain killers during recovery. He says they were overprescribed in the past, but the trend is changing.

(24:10) Doug talks about the improvements in knee, hip, and other joint replacement surgeries. In the past, joint replacements made sense only for older people because of the need to replace them every 10 to 15 years. With new advancements, the components that go into joint replacements are significantly improved so that more young people are receiving replacements.

(30:50) Doug discusses various sports injuries, such as damaged Achilles tendons, ACLs, ulnar collateral ligaments and thumb injuries. He compares the severity of those injuries and examines new developments in treatment.

(35:25) Doug reminds listeners to pay attention to what their bodies are telling them. He also says people need to share more information with doctors and physical therapists, in order to better their chance for recovery.

Question: Would you rather work in the shop or in the office?

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5 thoughts on “Ep. 51 – Physical Therapist Doug Conroy on Protecting Your Body at Work

  1. David Smith

    Nice job summarizing the content of this Swarfcast along with the time stamps. This would seem to address the concern some have expressed about not being sure if they care to spend the time listening to the entire recording. With the summation, you can decide if the subject matter is compelling enough to spend the time listening.
    Regarding the impact of sitting in an office all day, many of us are now using the adjustable stand-up work stations that allow you to stand or sit during the course of the day. It does make a difference.

  2. Noah Graff

    I guess the office because it suits my talents better.

    But I feel like a caged animal every day. I feel as though it is unnatural and unhealthy sitting so much. Also I know I don’t get up enough.

    One of the ongoing goals! Tomorrow I will start setting a timer to get up!

    David–I’m glad you think the format of the podcast blog has improved. Personally I don’t think many folks would read an entire transcript.

    1. Victor

      I would skim, a transcript if it were a subject I was interested in. I would probably not listen to a podcast.

      You could make a link to the transcript so it would not clutter up the web site but would still be available.


    2. Victor

      I have a standing desk with a high chair. Sit and stand alternately throughout the day. Such a high desk has a nice feeling – in command!

      I looked into buying a standing desk or a movable up/down desk and they were very expensive, PLUS didn’t have drawers. I took my regular wood desk and put it up on blocks ($12 from Home Depot) and got a “bar stool” chair.It works great, plus I have all my drawers at the right height.

      I liked it so much I did it on my home desk, too!

      I needed to use a car jack to lift it up onto the blocks.


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