The advent of modern technology and automation has caused many work activities to be limited in both physical scope and actions. What used to be an office work that involves a variety of physical movements is now normally just an 8 to 5 work in front of a computer. Also, based on the application of time-and-motion principle in the industrial setting, a worker is deemed more efficient doing only one or a few process steps or motions. These changes have led to the increase in the incidence of repetitive stress injuries among workers.
Repetitive stress injury (RSI) pertains to the condition resulting from excessive stress placed on a joint in the body and is linked to the stress of repetitive motions at work or at play, for that matter. Stress of repetitive motions from heavy computer use, extended hours in electronic games, prolonged texting, playing musical instruments for long periods, overuse injuries in sports and repetitive motion of sports like tennis are common examples of RSIs.
There are a number of health conditions resulting from RSIs including carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis, cervical radiculopathy, tendonitis, ganglion cyst and reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which are all associated with the muscles, tendons and nerves.
Certain specific causes have been identified to be common in inducing RSI and they include overuse of particular muscles or group of muscles, poor posture, cold temperatures, vibrating equipment, carrying heavy loads, and fatigue.
There are some precautions that you can take to prevent the onset of RSI:
- Maintain good posture. It is crucial to your overall health and well being. Be conscious of how you stand, sit and move around – postural awareness.
- Have an ergonomic chair and position and adjust all your equipment and furniture (table, keyboard, monitor, mouse, printer, etc.) to give you the most optimum comfort and ease of movement.
- When working on your computer:
- Keep your wrists straight.
- Let your hands float on the keyboard, and not resting on the desk or keyboard.
- Avoid straining your fingers. Type with minimum movements and with a light touch. Use two hands to type combination keys.
- Take breaks like every hour especially when you work on the computer.
- Take the opportunity to do stretching and exercise during breaks, especially strengthening exercise for the back and neck.
- Practice correct breathing.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
Experts maintain that if you want to eliminate the root causes of RSI, your focus must be more on stretching, strengthening, and constantly working towards your maintaining proper body alignment and posture.
Repetitive stress injury can happen to anyone, and that includes you. Let your awareness of RSI be the start for you to consciously avoid repetitive stress-induced injury in your joint.