How To Manage Repetitive Strain Injury In The Workplace

Repetitive strain injury or repetitive stress injury has a long history. You have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. You probably have heard of the secretary’s disease. These are just different names for the same phenomenon. When people are moving certain parts of their hands, or other parts of their bodies in a fairly tight range of motion, day after day, week after week, month after month, it’s not all that shocking to discover that sometimes, people develop all sorts of injuries.

These injuries are kind of deceptive because they don’t jump out at you. They require a tremendously long time frame for them to manifest. But just because they take a lot of time to become obvious and painful, doesn’t mean that they are not problems. You have to understand that for the longest time, a lot of people think that as long as they can’t see it, or is not extreme, then somehow, someway it’s not really that big of a problem. Well, repetitive strain injury is a serious issue because if you are using any kind of electronic device, you’re going to be using your hands.

And even if you are not using the device all that often, if you already have developed RSI, you can definitely feel it. Just how bad can things get? Well, RSI can manifest itself in a wide range of ways. It really depends on the person, as well as their normal range of movement in any given day. Generally speaking, it can be as benign as numbness in our fingertips. It can get as bad as stiffness in the wrist, and the worst cases involve a crab-like cramping phenomenon in both hands. It as if you can’t move your hands from the wrist downward.

This might seem really weird and awkward to a lot of people, but until and unless you step into the shoes of people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, or any kind of repetitive stress or strain injury, you wouldn’t know the half of it. A lot of people who suffer from these injuries say that their lives have turned into a living hell. I don’t doubt them one bit. Make no mistake, we have a lot of things that we take for granted. For example, if you move your neck, it may seem like it’s the most natural thing in the world. It probably doesn’t take you much effort to do so. It’s very comfortable and convenient.

Well, what if you got rear-ended in an automotive accident? Something as basic as turning your neck sideward or looking down becomes an ordeal. How come? Well, you feel every millimeter of movement. That’s how excruciating it is. It becomes an ordeal. It becomes some sort of punishment. The same applies to repetitive strain injury. So how do you manage this? How do you make sure that you don’t develop this in the first place? In the off chance that you end up developing the initial symptoms of repetitive strain injury, how do you manage it so it doesn’t get any worse? Follow the tips below:

Always keep your feet flat

When you are sitting on the floor, make sure that the soles of your feet are flat or flush against the floor. When you are off-center, and your posture goes bad, this can lead to you putting more pressure on certain parts of your body than others. You also have to look at the positioning of your head, neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, pelvis, and knees. Remember, your posture is the product of the placement as well as the angles of all these parts of your body.

If you think that your posture doesn’t really play a big role in repetitive strain injury, you have another thing coming. It may well turn out that your boss would buy all sorts of gadgets and tools to try to prevent RSI, but if you are not cooperating by making sure that your posture is correct, you still end up putting a lot of unintentional or unconscious pressure or weight on a part of your body that can lead to RSI.

Take breaks

In the United States, we have two 15-minute breaks for a reason. Not only is it the law, but there are practical reasons for those breaks. When you take a break, you need to take a complete break. You can’t say to your boss that you’re taking a break when you’re just checking Facebook updates on the computer. You’re still putting stress on parts of your body. You’re still essentially working because you’re doing the same things as before but this time you’re doing it for your personal interests. That’s not going to cut it. You have to take a complete break.

This means you have to get out from your table, move around, and essentially exercise your wrists, your knees, your hips, and other parts of your body. That’s how you know that you are actually taking a break.

Develop regular exercise

If you are involved in a type of work that requires repetitive motions like moving around a mouse or typing on a keyboard, get exercise that involves your hands and arms. The more diverse your range of motions become, the more your muscles will be trained to offset any kind of RSI pattern. You have to understand that RSI crops up because our muscles are trained to operate only in one way, and one way alone. This happens over an extended period of time and before you know it, it’s really hard to break out of this pattern. Head this off by engaging in stretching exercises, calisthenics, aerobic exercises.

Do engage in a little bit of cardiovascular exercise so you have a lot more oxygen floating through your system, and this can give you the energy to get up and go. When you do that, you’re not putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on any one part of your body, and you’re able to engage in a more diverse range of motion.

This, in turn, can offset patterns that can lead to repetitive strain or repetitive stress injuries at work. If you are already suffering from the initial onset of RSI, using the tips above can help you head them off. At the very least, their impact will not be as bad. At words, if it’s too late, you can at least minimize their severity or prevent things from getting worse.