A Men’s Health initiative by the Australian Men’s Shed Association.

Us blokes can generally be quite fastidious about our machinery. It doesn’t matter if we are farmers, timber workers, truckers, miners or car owners when a service is due on our machinery we either do it ourselves or we get the mechanic to do it. This is especially so when the value of our machinery is significant – sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars! With the correct maintenance schedule we can keep our machinery running optimally and can often avoid costly repairs – problems can be identified and fixed early before they become major.

Our most valuable piece of machinery however is our own health – if we are incapacitated then we are unable to operate all the other machinery that we own. But when it comes to us blokes looking after ourselves we are generally not very good at it! We mostly don’t have a “maintenance schedule” and tend to use the “wait and see” approach. Physically, if we have an ache or pain, our attitude is often that of “I’ll battle through this” or “I’ll wait a while and see if this gets better by itself”. For most of us we get away with this most of the time. Only when the aches or pains are overpowering do we make the decision to do something about it and get it checked out by our mechanic (our GP or other Health Professional). We would not ignore that timing chain rattle or bearing rumble in our machinery because we know that it might lead to worse problems later on – so why don’t we pay as much attention to the rattles and rumbles that our bodies send us?

Likewise, emotionally, we may also take the wait and see attitude. Only when the situation becomes emotionally overwhelming do we seek some help.

Yet while we are doing this, while we are waiting and seeing, the problem can get worse. We may then end up taking out our frustration on our loved ones and friends. And, by waiting and seeing, we also run the risk of the problem becoming more and more difficult to fix/ treat.

Health is complex – we can tend to become overwhelmed with health information. “Spanner in the Works?” provides some key health messages to us men in a form that is understandable and achievable. “Spanner in the Works?” is not about telling you what to do but sets out some things that you can do (or not do) to improve your health and your chances of a longer and happier life. It gives you the opportunity to make adjustments as you see fit. Often minor adjustments can have a major impact on your health, relationships with loved ones and friends and your work.

I encourage you all to use this website and the links provided to discover more about your health and wellbeing – there are even some age related “maintenance schedules” which outline health issues common to your age group and to provide information as to what may need discussion at your annual maintenance check up with your mechanic (GP). Your GP or Health Professional are valuable sources of information – use them!

If there is an area that you are concerned about then I also encourage you to use this website to seek further information from Australia’s “peak body” health organisations – go to the website, ring them – they will be more than happy to provide further and more detailed information.

Most importantly put yourself over the pits each year by getting a full health check through your GP.