When you’re performing the same tasks again and again, it can put a strain on certain muscles or parts of your body. This can lead to inflammation, pain and even long-term damage.
The good news is that there are ways to avoid this. Here’s a look at the four most common kinds of workplace repetitive strain injuries and how to protect yourself from them:
Carpal tunnel syndrome.
This condition causes numbness, tingling, weakness or other irritation in the hands and wrists. It happens due to strain, swelling and pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. It typically can occur in jobs where you’re at a computer typing all day.
Some ways to combat this issue include using the correct typing position by holding your arms straight out in front of you with the palm of your hands facing down. Also, several times during the day, take a break and stretch your hands and wrists by bending your hands back toward you. Pull gently and hold for about 15-20 seconds.
This is a common malady that is simply tendonitis. It involves inflammation of the tendons, causing one or more fingers to get stuck in one, bent position. People that work in jobs where they are repetitively gripping items are most prone to it.
Treatment depends on the severity, but stretching also helps. For instance, lay your hand on a table, flat with the palm down. Then lift the affected finger and pull it back gently to stretch it. Lift it as high as it will go without strain.
Rotator cuff tendonitis.
This can result when you have a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting or overhead work. It basically occurs when there’s a tear in the tissue connecting muscle to bone, which leads to pain and weakness.
To avoid this kind of injury, try to maintain good posture and don’t sleep with your arms over your head. Strengthening your rotator cuff through resistance exercises can also be helpful.
A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the bone from other moving parts. It can become inflamed over time due to repetitive motion.
For instance, when you’re regularly lifting items over your head or leaning on your elbows over a long period of time, it puts pressure on the bursae around a joint. This, in turn, can lead to pain, swelling and tenderness. If you’re susceptible to it, you can avoid or limit the damage by resting the affected area, as well as cushioning it while working and sleeping.
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