Is going to work making you sick? Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are conditions caused by placing too much stress on a joint, such as unusual repetitive movements. Most RSIs are linked to the stress of repetitive motions at the computer or overuse injuries in sports, sometimes referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or cumulative trauma disorder. RSIs frequently develop at work. Small, repetitive activities can strain the muscles and tendons of your upper body, including the shoulder.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), repetitive strain injuries are the nation’s most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of American workers, and costing more than $20 billion a year in workers compensation.
Activities that can cause RSI include: use of industrial machinery, use of a computer mouse, swiping items at a supermarket checkout stand and carrying or lifting heavy loads. Chronic shoulder pain often stems from prolonged, repetitive, or awkward movements. This type of pain is sometimes referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or cumulative trauma disorder. RSIs frequently develop at work. Small, repetitive activities can strain the muscles and tendons of your upper body, including the shoulder. Chronic shoulder and neck pain can a result Working long hours at a computer can really take a toll on our bodies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly two-thirds of all occupational illnesses reported, were caused by exposure to repeated trauma to workers upper body ( the wrist, elbow or shoulder ). One common example of such an injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Long term shoulder pain can become a chronic problems if you work on:
– a computer mouse
– industrial equipment
– swiping items at a retail check out
– lifting or carrying leave loads
Often times determining contributing factors can be difficult. Being sedentary such as working at your computer can weaken your muscles, resulting in pain. Often times, as the day goes longer, many tend to get more tired sitting at their computer, resulting in poor posture and pain.
Some of the most common sources for shoulder and upper body pain:
– awkward postures at a desk
– forced pressure on the body
– resting your wrists on a hard edge while typing
– full body vibration while driving machinery
– using your arms above shoulder level i.e. a hair stylist cutting hair
– being exposed to extreme temperature
– when the body holds a position for an extended period of time
Tips to prevent having working become “a pain”:
– try taking frequent breaks to stretch and get moving. It will also clear out your mind for a short mental break. Set a calendar reminder on your computer to remind yourself to take frequent breaks. Giving your eyes a break will help you distress at work. Try refocusing them on a object about 20 feet way periodically throughout the day.
– your computer monitor should be about a shoulder’s length away from you with the top of the monitor at eye level.
– keep the keyboard and monitor directly straight in front of you to avoid long term turning of your neck/head.
– your elbows should be even with your work space. Consider installing an adjustable keyboard and mouse work tray to your desk.
– to give your dominant hand a break, try switching to your other hand to run the mouse on your computer. It will force you to low down a bit which may provide some relief.
– get a phone headset for longer calls to avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder. You can also use you non-dominant hand for phone calls to free up your hands for computer use.
– try yoga or ti chi
– write a note or set a reminder on you calendar to sit correctly.
Here are some ways to sit correctly:
• feet should be flat on the floor or on a desk foot rest
• hands and wrists should a aligned with your forearms
• thighs should be parallel to the floor
• elbows should be close to your body and supported
• your lower back should be supported
• shoulders should be relaxed
These are a few tips to address pain and discomfort. We recommend seeing your doctor for a examination to determine the root cause and for treatment before trying these tips.