Ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their surroundings. It examines where people are concerned about their work, what they are doing, and how they set up things. Thus, if you want to work without any worries, learning about ergonomic injuries is a must. In this article, we will discuss five common ergonomic injuries in the workplace and how you can dodge them!
#1: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the ergonomic hazards is carpal tunnel syndrome. It occurs when your median nerve becomes compressed as it travels through the wrist and into the hand.
Symptoms of this ergonomic injury include numbness or tingling from the fingers to the thumb side of your palm. It may also entail pain, and weakness in all four fingers on one hand, and difficulty with gripping objects tightly.
If you experience any symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome at work, see your doctor as soon as possible!
How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are several ways to minimize your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Some are the following:
- Keep your wrists as straight as possible when typing.
- Avoid repetitive motions such as using a mouse or using your wrists for long periods.
- Make sure that you take regular breaks from any repetitive motion and stretch regularly.
- When you sleep, hold your wrist straight.
- Stretching your muscles before and after a workout is also vital
- Make sure that you set up your workstation correctly and that it’s ergonomically comfortable for you.
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can vary based on the severity of the injury and the patient’s needs. Typically, a doctor will prescribe resting from the activity that is causing the injury and taking breaks. Other treatments may be prescribed, such as physical therapy or splints to immobilize your wrist. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, including releasing pressure on a nerve in a surgical procedure called a carpal tunnel release.
Tendonitis is a condition in which the tendons around a joint become inflamed due to overuse or injury.
Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms of this injury include pain and stiffness in one part of the joint at a time. Meanwhile, the causes may include changes in weight, age, sports participation, or repetitive hand motions such as typing on a computer keyboard.
Fastest Way To Treat Tendonitis
The most fantastic treatment for tendonitis is to rest from any activity that causes discomfort in one area of a joint at a time. This will allow it to heal naturally without putting extra stress on the affected tissues. You should also see your doctor about taking anti-inflammatory medication or applying ice packs if necessary while resting. Finally, avoiding sports participation and making changes in weight or age is also recommended to prevent the ergonomic hazard from getting worse.
Tendonitis Prevention Tips
To help prevent this ergonomic injury, it’s best to observe the following tips:
- Avoid activities that cause pain in one area of a joint at a time, as this could lead to inflammation of the tendons surrounding the joint.
- Be careful not to aggravate an existing injury
- Make sure to set up your workstation properly for ergonomics, and stretch regularly.
- Prohibit yourself from remaining in one position for extended hours, mainly if the position is not comfortable.
- Switch your tasks and take frequent breaks before continuing your work.
#3: Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common issue that all people can suffer from in their daily activities. It’s an especially prevalent problem for those who spend extended periods at a desk and require frequent bending and lifting throughout the day, thus leading to ergonomic hazards.
According to the Global Burden of Disease, significant research published in The Lancet medical journal, lower back pain is also a primary cause of disability.
Lower back pain often causes tightness and soreness in the area around the sacrum or lower spine. You may also experience pain radiating into one or both buttocks, as well as numbness, tingling, weakness, or stiffness in one leg or arm.
Fastest Way To Treat Lower Back Pain
The best way to treat lower back pain is to take a break from any activity that causes discomfort, use ice packs for inflammation or swelling, stretch the muscles surrounding the injured area, and engage in less strenuous activities.
You can also consult with your doctor about taking anti-inflammatory medication if necessary. Be sure not to do anything that could potentially aggravate the ergonomic injury! Ensure good posture at all times as well to help prevent future occurrences of this ergonomic hazard issue.
Ensure you have proper ergonomics set up on your workstation, so there’s no slouching when sitting down or bending over too much while standing. Additionally, keep hydrated with lots of water, and take frequent breaks throughout the day to stretch!
Besides those mentioned above, you can also do the following:
- Stay active to be physically fit
- Lose your weight if it’s needed
- Make sure to carry heavy things properly
- Quit smoking (if you are)
#4: Neck and Shoulder Injuries
The neck and shoulder region is one of the most common areas for ergonomic injuries in the workplace. This area is often subject to repetitive motions, high levels of tension, and poor posture.
Many symptoms may result from an injury or strain to your neck or shoulders! Some include pain and stiffness around these parts and numbness, tingling sensations, weakness, fatigue after periods where you’ve been sitting with a bad posture, such as at a computer station all day long.
How to treat Neck & Shoulder Injuries
To treat neck and shoulder injuries, you may want to take some time off from any activities causing discomfort, such as typing on a computer keyboard for extended periods. You can also do the following to relieve the pain:
- Apply ice packs for inflammation of the affected area
- Take anti-inflammatory medication if necessary
- Consult with your doctor about cortisone shots
Preventing this ergonomic injury may be a bit difficult but is definitely not impossible. You can try the following methods:
- Maintain good posture when sitting and standing
- Engage in regular stretching exercises
- Use a supportive pillow when sleeping
- Take breaks every 20 minutes when working at a computer
#5: Epicondylitis aka Tennis Elbow
Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow is inflammatory tendonitis of the outer elbow. It is where the extensor muscles attach to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. The condition causes pain when gripping the arm.
The most common symptom of this ergonomic injury are the following:
- pain in the area when grasping or gripping something with one hand
- difficulty using doorknobs
- difficulty opening bottles.
Furthermore, some people may also experience intense pain when shaking hands or clenching their fists.
How to treat Epicondylitis aka Tennis Elbow
Similar to the previous injuries mentioned, you can treat tennis elbow by resting your arm, using ice packs, and taking anti-inflammatory medication if necessary.
However, you may also want to do the following:
- Stretch out your forearm by making a fist, holding it for 15 seconds, and letting go.
- Put pressure on the affected area to help with pain relief.
- Do strengthening exercises for your forearm muscles.
Some prevention tips for this ergonomic hazard include:
- Engage in regular stretching exercises and exercise regularly to ensure you don’t get fatigued quickly, and be sure to take frequent breaks while sitting at your desk
- Work on strengthening your grip and the power of the muscles in your forearm You can do this by engaging with tools such as a hand gripper or even using resistance bands.
- Try not to grip items too tightly–especially things like pencils if you find it triggers pain!
- Ensure good wrist posture by keeping them straight whenever possible but avoid resting them on sharp corners or edges that cause irritation.
- Make sure to arrange ergonomics accurately, so there’s no awkward bending over.
While we’re all used to it, the workplace can be very dangerous when it comes to ergonomic injuries! However, you can help prevent them by being aware of the most common types and taking steps to ensure good posture.
If you do find yourself with any symptoms or pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, or hands–it’s best to seek medical attention right away to prevent the injury from worsening. Remember, your health is always the number one priority!
Learned something new today? Which ergonomic injury are you most familiar with? Share your thoughts and subscribe to our newsletter for more information on how to stay safe both at work and at home!
El Paso West Texas Chiropractic Center
907 Chelsea St. Ste. E,
El Paso, TX 79903
Phone: (915) 562-5700
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