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Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries at Work

Oct 12th, 2012

Repetitive Stress InjuriesRepetitive stress injuries or RSIs are injuries caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, poor body positioning, mechanical compression, or vibrations which put stress on any part of the body. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, weakness, and strain. There are more than a hundred types of RSIs and they may lead to tissue damage. These injuries may are common among office workers who often work too long, sitting in front of the computer. Here are some ways you can prevent RSIs:

Use an ergonomic keyboard to minimize stress on your hands and wrists. Using them may take a while to get used to, but they’re worth it once you get the hang of it. You can also use a track ball instead of a mouse to protect your wrist.

Place keyboard within reach and press the keys using a light touch. Finger and wrists should be held level to avoid strain. Forearms and wrists should be at a 90 degree angle with the upper arms. Position the elbows near the body to prevent wrists from bending.

When sitting, your feet should rest flat on the floor with the knees at a 90 degree angle. You can use a foot rest if your feet can’t reach the floor.

Position your monitor just below eye level at an arm’s length away from your face. This should allow you to view your monitor simply by looking forward and not having to lean and hurt your back and neck.

Take quick breaks every half an hour especially if your job involves repetitive movements. Perform simple stretches in your chair or walk around for one or two minutes even if you’re not feeling uncomfortable. This is a preventive measure. You can set your cell phone alarm to remind you to take breaks so you won’t forget.

Proper warm-up activities are needed before participating in any type of sports activities. Warm-up prepares your body for activities ahead to help reduce the risks of RSIs and other injuries so do not rush them.

Bend your knees when lifting objects. This is to help you avoid RSIs and serious back injuries.

Perform simple exercises to prevent RSIs while you’re stuck at the desk. Periodically stretch your neck, wrists, and shoulders. Turn your head from side to side to avoid neck strain. Roll your shoulders. Stretch your wrists by slowly bending them up and down.

You can use several devices available to help you prevent RSIs. These include ergonomic chairs, foot rests, back supports, wrist support gloves, and keyboard rests.

Immediately stop what you’re doing when you feel pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. Pushing your body further will only cause more harm. Consult a physician to assess and treat the source of pain right away.

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