repetive-stress-injuriesRepetitive motion injuries are one of the most common ways of getting hurt on the job site or at home, with as many as 93% of all non-critical injuries having a root in performing the same actions repeatedly. This has become increasingly prevalent in today’s computer-based world, where a vast majority of jobs, as well as entertainment options, rely on a keyboard and mouse rather than a more varied set of tools. Another major source of these injuries is poor posture while sitting in front of a computer. However, by taking a proactive approach to these injuries, it is possible to lessen their frequency and severity.

We discuss a few preventive measures that you can take with a view to save yourself from injuries caused primarily due to a certain lifestyle.

Be Conscious and Improve Your Posture
One way that many people approach their posture issues is to sit up straight in the computer chair and keep their ears, hips, and shoulders in alignment. This is the natural position of the spine and takes advantage of the features of the chair to help you maintain that stance.

Another option is to invest in a balance ball.

Invest In a Good Computer Chair or Try a Balance Ball
There is a lot of variance in the type of computer chairs that are available in the market.

    • Some are designed to be ergonomic, while others are simply for the sake of convenience.
    • Many people take the time to do their research and figure out what chair would suit their needs the best, and it’s not a bad idea.
    • Of the many things to look for in a chair is the ability for it to swivel on its axis, as well as to roll; because it enables you to reach things much more easily without contorting your body into awkward positions.
      • Not only does this encourage a natural posture, but it exercises the core while you work.

Get Up and Take Breaks
One of the most harmful downsides of corporate culture today is long working hours and a lack of sufficient breaks in between.

      • To combat repetitive motion injury, some people take a five minute break for every hour of work.
      • In this time, they stand up and stretch, allowing their joints to align properly and stretch their muscles.
      • Not only does this help to alleviate the discomfort of sitting for hours on end, but it also gives them a quick mental break and makes them more productive.
      • A quick walk around the office is often enough to get the blood pumping again and provide some much needed relief.

Look For Signs of Repetitive Motion Injury
If you begin to feel aches and pains in your arms and hands, it could be a sign that you are using poor posture when you write/type. By taking the time to educate yourself on the warning signs, you are better able to monitor your own body and take steps to prevent the injuries from growing worse.

      • Pain in the neck and back can also be indicative of poor posture.
      • If you begin to experience these pains, it might be a good idea to work on finding a better chair or sitting posture to prevent them from getting worse.

Practice Safe Lifting Techniques
In certain jobs, people are required to lift very heavy objects. There are still jobs and household chores that need you to lift considerable heavy objects. This includes taking care of small children and lifting them every now and then that puts pressure on the back.

      • Ensuring you do it with proper form is a surefire way to protect your back and spine.
      • The weight should be kept close to the waist and the legs should be the primary force with which it is lifted, not the back.
      • Lifting with the back is dangerous even with the not-so-heavy items.

Even though a majority of repetitive motion injuries are treated with rehabilitation and it’s only the worst cases that require surgery, by being aware and keeping an eye out for the signs of repetitive motion injuries, you can take care of yourself and stay away from the stress and discomfort caused by these activities.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michele Holincheck, FNP