The constant presence of computers in the workplace has made many of our lives easier. Emails take the place of meetings, video conferences take the place of long, cross-country trips, and extensive print research is accomplished with one search in Google. But like most new trends, there are some downsides.
Take a look at our list of the most common, tech-related workplace injuries, as well as tips on how to avoid them.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive Strain Injuries, or RSI, are some of the most common injuries in today’s tech-infused workplaces. If you spend most of your day repeating the same motions over and over, such as typing or using a touch screen, you could be at risk of placing too much force on our muscles or joints. Some common tech-related types of RSI are carpal tunnel (numbness or tingling in the hand or arm caused by a pinched wrist nerve) and trigger finger, (inflamed tendons in the finger causing a finger or thumb to lock when bent).
These conditions become much more likely the more often you repeat the same activity over and over, without taking breaks. Be sure to not only get up from your desk at least once an hour, but also shake out your hands and wrists for a minute or two. If the pain persists, visit our hand specialists at Orthopedic Institute.
Ear buds are everywhere these days. As many workplaces move away from individual offices and towards an open concept layout, using headphones is a new form of professional manners. And of course, ear buds are by far the most popular choice. The problem is that ear buds, more than over the ear headphones, are causing widespread hearing damage. Not only that, but this hearing loss is irreversible.
Even moderate volume can cause hearing loss if you listen to it for too long. Follow the 60/60 rule: Keep your volume below 60% for less than 60 minutes per day.
Muscle Pain and Headaches
Work can be stressful. We all know that. But we may not realize the physical effects that constant stress can have on your body. When you’re stressed, your body produces excess hormones that affect muscle tension and pain sensitivity. So not only will you experience pain from holding your muscles tight all day, you will feel that pain even more intensely than normal.
And of course, lack of sleep and staring at a computer screen all day can lead to persistent headaches.
The best ways to relieve the pain are to relieve stress in your life. Start by getting sleep! Be sure to turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before bed to make sure you maintain healthy sleep patterns. Similarly, small changes such as exercise and massages can help keep stress levels down. If muscle pain persists, call us to discuss options such as acupuncture and physical therapy.
Stay aware of the way computer, tablet and cell phone usage is impacting your body, and you can keep yourself healthy as well as productive.