How to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries
A repetitive stress or strain injury is a condition in which repeated motions eventually start damaging nerves, muscles, or tendons. While any kind of repetitive motion can cause a repetitive stress injury, some of the types of workers most at risk of sustaining repetitive stress injuries include the following;
- Construction workers
- Office workers
- Assembly line and manufacturing workers
- Restaurant workers
- Healthcare workers
- Telephone operators
- Cleaning industry employees
Repetitive stress injuries are among the fastest-growing occupational injuries, and unfortunately, often, workers seek diagnosis and treatment of an RSI when the condition has already taken root. This is because repetitive stress injuries often develop slowly. Unfortunately, if an RSI is not identified and treated on time, it can become extremely painful and debilitating. The good news, however, is that there are ways to prevent repetitive stress injuries. Below, we discuss common types of repetitive stress injuries, common causes of repetitive stress injuries, and how to prevent stress injuries.
Common Types of Repetitive Stress Injuries
Workers can sustain more than one hundred types of repetitive stress injuries, affecting various body parts. The following are some of the most common types of RSIs;
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Tennis elbow
- Radial tunnel syndrome
- Ulnar tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Nerve entrapment disorders
Causes of Repetitive Stress Injuries
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, repetitive stress injuries occur because of repetitive motions. If you perform repetitive tasks, you are at risk of suffering an RSI. Apart from repetitive motions, the following are some of the other causes of repetitive stress injuries;
- Adopting an awkward position
- Using poorly-designed equipment
- Holding a static position for excessive durations
- Failing to take sufficient breaks to let the muscles rest
- Performing forceful movements
- Using vibrating equipment
- Lifting heavy objects
- Lifting items that are awkwardly shaped or have an uneven weight distribution
Ways to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries
Below are some tips to help you prevent repetitive stress injuries;
- Organize your work area to support good posture. For example, if you use a computer, ensure the monitor is approximately an arm’s length away from you with its upper edge at or slightly below eye level. And as you type, ensure your wrists are straight.
- Take small breaks between work.
- If you must stand for long periods of time, ensure you try to change your position and weight distribution often. Also, it can help to stand on rubber mats.
- Alternate between sitting and standing.
- Use the appropriate tool for the job.
- Use proper lifting techniques. According to OSHA, safe lifting involves, among other things, holding the load close to your body at waist height and standing as close to the load as possible.
- Limit how much time you spend doing repetitive tasks.
- Change tasks often, if possible.
- Use a comfortably loose grip on tools.
- Reduce exposure to vibration, if possible.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Your body will be able to handle stress better if you are well-nourished.
Legal Help Is Available
If you still suffer an injury after doing your best to prevent a repetitive stress injury, you may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced Vermont workers’ compensation attorney at Sluka Law PLC can help you file your workers’ compensation claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.