While many people tend to associate the idea of work injuries with one-time events such as falls or sprains, a great number of people suffer from repetitive motion injuries that set in overtime. If you’re not sure what these injuries and their symptoms are, then read on for some valuable information and ideas about how to protect yourself.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Also known as repetitive stress injuries, repetitive motion injuries are damages caused to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves as a result of repeating the same motion over and over again.
Unlike sudden injuries with an obvious catalyst, repetitive motion injuries have the tendency to creep up on people who don’t take preventative measures ahead of time. These injuries also tend to build and worsen as people unwittingly continue to put their bodies through the same repetitive strain.
Repetitive motion injuries can be caused by small-scale repetitive motions like typing as well as motions that require more exertion, such as repetitive heavy lifting. A prime example is carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive stress injuries can also be caused by poor posture, sustained unnatural positions, and vibrations.
The symptoms of repetitive motion injuries can include pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected area. As the injuries continue to be aggravated over time, symptoms can compound to include swelling, clumsiness, and more extreme loss of sensation.
Other symptoms of repetitive motion injuries may include throbbing sensations and noticeable tenderness in the affected area, which are often accompanied by a loss of strength or motion in the area.
Repetitive motion injuries also tend to extend symptoms to other areas of the body. For instance, if you sustain these injuries in the ligaments and tendons of your hands, you may experience pain and soreness that extend up through your wrists and forearms.
Similarly, if you sustain a repetitive stress injury in your shoulders as a result of poor posture at your desk, you’ll likely experience lower back and neck pain along with headaches.
Solutions and Prevention
When left untreated, repetitive motion injuries can cause permanent damage to the affected areas. However, you can take a few simple steps to prevent these injuries from happening and ease any symptoms you might have already developed.
To help reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries, you can incorporate ergonomic office furniture, maintain a healthy posture, and take regular breaks throughout the day. Another good way to combat repetitive motion injuries is to incorporate regular stretching whenever possible.
If you’ve already developed some symptoms of repetitive stress injuries, then you can help negate some of the effects by changing your posture, giving yourself time to rest, and using ice to reduce inflammation. Splints, braces, and physical therapy exercises are also good options.
Keep in mind that these injuries tend to build up over time and can creep up on you as a result. Take preventative measures by performing tasks in a variety of different ways in order to avoid repetitive strain, by maintaining good posture, and by taking breaks to let your body rest.
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