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Managing a repetitive strain injury

When you imagine a person applying for workers’ compensation, you most likely imagine someone who works on a construction site. While jobs that require a lot of physical labor do cause injuries from time to time, more sedentary vocations like office work can also cause painful injuries that may put you on medical leave.

As someone who does most of their work at a computer desk, it’s unlikely that you will fall off a roof while on the job. The office sector sees many more repetitive strain type injuries. According to Medical News Today, these injuries can be the result of repetitive tasks or awkward body positioning and may be worsened by stress and fatigue.

A repetitive strain injury can manifest in several different ways. Consider seeing a doctor if you begin suffering from:

  • Soreness or tenderness in or around a joint
  • Painful throbbing in a muscle or joint
  • Unexpected tingling or numbness in fingers, hand or arm
  • Feeling a change in temperature in a joint
  • Swelling in an affected muscle or joint

A doctor’s examination will be the final determination, but these are often early symptoms of a repetitive strain injury like tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Responding to a repetitive strain injury

Your doctor will be able to provide you with the best medical treatment for your situation. Common treatments for early stages of repetitive strain injuries are varied. They may be treatable with simple anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as aspirin or hot and cold therapy. Giving your joints and muscles time to rest is also often an effective treatment.

Don’t wait for your symptoms to become debilitating to see a doctor. Repetitive strain injuries can become chronic if not treated in a timely manner.

Preventing repetitive strain injuries before they start

Your body will often give you warning signs before an actual injury can take hold. As an office worker, some of the most effective steps you can take to prevent a repetitive strain injury are:

  • Take a break – Taking 5 minutes to move will keep your muscles more limber and blood circulating.
  • Shift positions – Don’t let yourself sit awkwardly for an extended period. This can isolate and strain your muscles, tendons and joints.
  • Customize your work station – Everyone works differently. Make sure your desk, chair, monitor and everything else at your station are ergonomically positioned to fit your needs.
  • Stretch – Taking a few minutes to stretch during a meal or coffee break can go a long way in preventing injuries.

Living actively and eating healthy are two of the best things you can do to prevent injuries. Help your body out by exercising, stretching and eating well. It can keep your blood flow strong and your muscles healthy.

Anyone can sustain an injury while on the job – even people with less physically demanding careers. Keep yourself safe and healthy, and speak to your doctor right away if you being to feel pain in your muscles and joints.

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