Do you ever feel like you do the same thing over and over every day at work? Surprisingly, most of us do the same things day after day. However, even more, shocking than that is the fact that a good majority of us will cause damage to our bodies in doing daily activities time and time again.
Repetitive motion injuries are caused by too many uninterrupted repetitions of a particular movement. They are a family of muscular conditions like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and trigger finger. And although injuries of the like can happen in any line of work, the most commonly affected are assembly line employees, sewing or embroidery workers, meatpackers, and jobs that primarily do computer work all day. This article aims to help you identify symptoms, but also to provide tips for prevention of these painful conditions.
Symptoms of repetitive motion injuries can range anywhere from soreness or burning, tingling, and numbness, to the loss of flexibility and strength. Typically, the most common parts of the body affected are the elbow, hands or fingers, wrists, arms, and legs. They say the muscles in the extremities experience the most pressure of the movement, even more so than the joints, and this is the reason for being affected.
To break the cycle of repetitive motion injuries the easiest thing to remember is to take breaks! If you have been working in the same spot for an hour get up and stretch for at least 5 minutes. Notice if you have pain, swelling or redness from the activity you just participated in. Make movements that are different than those you do your job.
Throughout your workday, take time to stretch and move about. If you have pain, then you need to address it (preferably as soon as possible) by applying ice and resting the afflicted limb/area. Exercise is especially important to the prevention of injuries, as it increases blood flow and motion. The author of Safety & Health in the Microskeleton, Richard Norris, states in his book that: “Someone who practices regular exercise is 40% less likely to suffer from a variety of injuries as the body is stronger, with better circulation.”
In all, if you find yourself in a situation that involves repetitive motion pain or injury, recognizing when it is time for breaks and being aware of how long you are stuck in one position or movement is key. For heavy computer users, good posture and the right chair and equipment are important. So is typing with your hands and shoulders in an L shape, at an exact right angle. You may think you don’t have time for stretching and breaks while working, but doing these different types of movement could end up saving you extensive time spent fighting an injury and losing time from work for treatment. If you are already in pain, you should be seeking treatment and medical assistance to prevent worsening the condition or injury.