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RSIs in the Workplace - More Common Than You Think

05 May 2023

Do you feel an ache in your wrist after a long day at the office? Do your fingers tingle or go numb? If so, you may suffer from a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

RSIs are common among those who work with computers and other electronic devices for long periods. But don't worry – there are steps you can take to prevent and treat these injuries.

RSIs At a Glance

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are common workplace injuries that can cause pain and disability in workers. They occur when muscles, tendons, or nerves are overworked or strained due to repetitive motions such as typing at a computer for extended periods.

RSIs occur when you perform the same action repeatedly without proper rest or breaks in between. This could be typing on your keyboard for hours without taking regular breaks, doing manual labor such as lifting heavy objects repeatedly or using tools like saws and hammers constantly throughout the day.

In addition to repetitive motion, poor posture while sitting at your desk can also lead to RSIs. Not sitting up straight and not taking regular breaks can cause pain in your neck, shoulders, and arms from being constantly hunched over a computer screen or desk.

RSIs can lead to long-term damage if not addressed properly, so it is important for employers and employees alike to be aware of their signs and symptoms of them.

Common Types of RSIs and Their Remedies

RSIs, or Repetitive Stress Injuries, are among the most common occupational hazards in modern workplaces. There are several RSI conditions, and it is possible to develop one or more of these conditions due to the repetitive nature of movements and tasks. Let us look at a few common RSIs in detail.



Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS can really put a wrench in our work. It's an affliction that affects millions of people worldwide, causing pain and numbness in the hands and wrists. If you've ever experienced CTS, you know just how disruptive it can be to your everyday life. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help manage the condition and get back on track with your regular activities.

The first step is to identify what might have caused the problem in the first place. Common causes include repetitive motions or too much typing on a computer keyboard. You should also look at lifestyle factors such as your diet and exercise routine and any underlying medical conditions that may be at play. Once the cause of the CTS has been identified, you can look at treatment options.

The most common treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and wearing a brace during activities that may have triggered the condition. Surgery may be necessary to open the carpal tunnel and relieve pressure on the median nerve. If you're considering this option, your doctor will be able to provide more information on what's involved.



Tendonitis

Tendonitis is a form of RSI that can affect any body part with tendons. It usually occurs due to repetitive motions such as typing on a computer keyboard, playing certain instruments or sports, and lifting weights. Symptoms include swelling around the affected area, tenderness when pressing on the tendon, pain when moving the joint, and a burning sensation in the tendon itself.

To treat tendonitis, it's important to identify what may have caused it to prevent further damage. This could be anything from overuse to poor posture while sitting at your desk. Once you know what's causing your tendonitis, you can start looking at treatment options such as rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication. You may also consider using a brace or splint for the affected area.



Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a form of RSI affecting the forearm's tendons. It usually occurs due to overuse when performing repetitive movements such as swinging a golf club or racket. Symptoms include pain and tenderness around the outside of the elbow joint, pain when gripping objects with your hand, and weakness in your forearm muscles.

Like most other RSIs, the treatment for epicondylitis involves rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication. You may also want to consider using a brace or splint for the affected area to help reduce movement and give it time to heal properly. Additionally, you can look into changing your technique when performing the activities that caused the injury to prevent further damage.



Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a form of RSI that affects the ulnar nerve. It usually occurs when the nerve gets compressed at the elbow, which can happen due to activities such as playing certain instruments or sports, repetitive motions, and direct pressure from leaning on your arm. Symptoms include numbness and tingling in your fingers, weak grip strength, and pain when bending your elbow.

The treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome typically involves rest and splinting the affected area with a brace or sling to prevent further damage. You may also want to consider physical therapy to help stretch out any tight muscles or tendons in the area. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to decompress the nerve if non-surgical treatments are ineffective.

There is a slight difference between Carpal and Cubital Tunnel Syndromes. Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the median nerve in your wrist gets compressed. However, cubital tunnel syndrome impacts the ulnar nerve in your elbow. Both cause pain and tingling but are found in different parts of the body.



Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

A thoracic outlet syndrome is a form of RSI that affects the nerves and vessels in your upper body. It usually occurs due to compression of these structures at the base of the neck, which can result from poor posture or repetitive motions. Symptoms include numbness and tingling in the arm and hand, pain in the shoulder or neck, weakness in the arm, and fatigue when lifting objects.

Treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome typically involves rest, physical therapy to stretch out any tight muscles or tendons, and wearing a brace to prevent further damage. Surgery may be necessary to decompress the structures causing pressure on your nerves or vessels.



Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries are another common type of RSI affecting your shoulder's muscles and tendons. They usually occur due to overuse or direct trauma to the area, such as a fall. Symptoms include pain when moving your shoulder, weakness in the affected arm, difficulty raising or lowering your arm, and a clicking sound from inside your shoulder.

Treatment for rotator cuff injuries typically involves rest, physical therapy to strengthen weak muscles and anti-inflammatory medication. You may also want to consider using a brace or splint for the affected area to help reduce movement and give it time to heal properly. Surgery may be necessary in some cases if non-surgical treatments are ineffective.



Prevention is Better Than Cure

The best way to prevent RSI injuries in the workplace is by taking proactive steps to reduce the risk. Here are some tips for making your workplace safer from RSIs:

Take Regular Breaks

Regular breaks help your body relax, stretch out tense muscles, and prevent injury. If you continue to work without taking breaks, you may not notice that you're starting to feel some strain until it's too late. That's why breaks are so important for preventing Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs). Short breaks throughout the day can help reduce tension and allow your body to rest and recuperate.

Invest in Ergonomic Furniture

Ergonomically designed furniture can help reduce the strain on your body by providing better support for your arms, legs, back, and neck. This includes chairs with adjustable backs and armrests and desks that are the right height for you. Investing in ergonomic furniture is not just good for preventing RSIs—it's also a great way to ensure you stay comfortable and productive at work.

Maintain Good Posture

Proper posture helps keep your muscles relaxed and reduces the strain on your joints. Keep your spine straight and shoulders relaxed when sitting or standing at work. Make sure you're not hunching forward or slouching too much. If you need to sit at a desk for long periods, try to get up and move around every so often.

Stretch Regularly

Stretching regularly can help reduce tension in the muscles and tendons, which can help prevent RSIs. Try doing simple stretches throughout the day - you don't need to spend much time on them. Just 5-10 minutes spent stretching your arms, wrists, neck, and back can significantly reduce strain and prevent injury.



Ergonomic Chair Pro (OC14)

If you spend a lot of time at your desk or in front of a computer screen, you must ensure that you have a comfortable chair above all else.

When shopping for an ergonomic chair, look for an adjustable backrest, armrest, and headrest. The more flexibility you have, the better you can achieve your comfort level.

You should also ensure that the chair is made from breathable materials, so you don't get too hot while sitting in it. And finally, be sure to choose a chair that's the right size for your body to be comfortable sitting in it.

You might wonder if you will ever be able to get one chair with all those features. Well, you are in luck. The Ergonomic Chair Pro OC14 is just that. It redefines modern luxury and is a perfect combination of ergonomics and aesthetics.

The OC14 has a mesh back and seat to keep you cool, adjustable armrests, and a headrest for added comfort. The backrest is made using a combination of soft and hard plastic. It allows users to adjust the back support according to their requirements. The seat is also adjustable and is suitable for people of all heights and body weights.

Final Thoughts

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) are a common problem in the workplace, but they're also preventable. By taking proactive steps to reduce the strain on your body, such as taking regular breaks, investing in ergonomic furniture, maintaining good posture, and stretching regularly, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing an RSI.

Additionally, investing in a quality ergonomic chair like the Ergonomic Chair Pro OC14 will give you comfortable seating for long periods without causing any strain or discomfort. Prevention is always better than cure—so make sure you take care of yourself and your body before it's too late!