How to Avoid Rrepetitive Strain Injury at Work
What is repetitive strain injury?
A repetitive strain injury (RSI), also referred as repetitive stress injury, is gradual damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves from repetitive motions: Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), are one of the fastest-growing occupational injuries, RSIs are common in office workers and may be caused by many different types of activities, including
- using a computer mouse
- Using vibrating equipment
- Adopting an awkward posture
- Holding a static posture for excessive durations
- Performing forceful movements
- Working at a repetitive task
- Using equipment that’s poorly designed
- Working in an environment that’s poorly organized or not ergonomically sound
- Failing to take adequate breaks to allow the muscles to rest.
Common types of RSIs are:
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- rotator cuff tendonitis
- tennis elbow
- Trigger finger
- Nerve entrapment disorders
- Radial tunnel syndrome
- Impingement syndrome
- Ulnar tunnel syndrome
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Blackberry thumb (DeQuervain’s syndrome)
Symptoms of RSIs
The symptoms depend upon the exact type of RSI and how severe the case it is. Some are these
- Pain and tenderness
- An achy sensation or throbbing
- Numbness, tingling, pins and needles
- Weakness or lack of muscular endurance
Treatment for RSIs usually involves
- ice compresses,
- anti-inflammatory drugs,
- pain medication,
- steroid injection,
Proper Posture to Avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries
Keeping good posture is important for people who work at a desk job all day, typing.
- Back is supported, particularly in the lumbar area. Chair should allow back to keep its natural S-curvature.
- Adjust the height of chair, upper arm is vertical, natural 90-degree bend at your elbow, and your forearms are hosts are straight. If it’s too difficult, use a wrist rest.
- Position your mouse near your keyboard so that you don’t have to outstretch your arm to reach it. This cause strain in the arm, causing the shoulder to twist and put extra strain on the upper back.
- Adjust the height of your screen so that it’s roughly the same height as your eyes. If it’s too high or too low, it will cause you to tilt your head backward or downwards, placing too much stress on the neck.
Exercises to prevent RSI
- Wrists twist if you have tennis elbow, you can try pronator/supinator strengthening exercises. These are the muscles that twist the wrist. Hold a lightweight in your hand with your thumb pointing upward. Turn your wrist inward all the way, then outward all the way. Hold each position for a couple of seconds and repeat. we can also try massaging the area for a few minutes and applying pressure using a couple of fingers on the affected elbow.
- Wall sit If you have a strain in your arms, hands, or shoulders, try the wall sit. Stand facing a wall. Extend your arm along the wall, keeping it parallel to the ground. Keep your hand on the wall, and turn your torso slightly away from it, opening up your chest. Stretch your fingers as far out as possible. Hold for up to a minute, and repeat on the other side.
- Wrist stretch Stretch the flexors, the muscles that flex the wrist by straightening out your arm with your palm up. With your other hand, push your palm downwards. You’ll feel a good stretch along your wrist. Hold for a couple of seconds and repeat.