Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are common in the workplace yet easily avoidable. Many people struggle with RSIs because they fail to understand what they are and how to keep them from happening.
If you struggle with RSIs, you can rest easy knowing there are simple tips for reducing repetitive strain injuries both in and out of the workplace. Here’s what you need to know.
What are Repetitive Strain Injuries?
RSIs are common injuries caused by repetitive motions. Over time, damage may build up in muscles, tendons, or nerves as your body goes through seemingly harmless motions. Common activities that may result in RSIs include:
- Using a mouse
- Typing on a keyboard
- Swiping items at the store
- Using a hammer
- Assembly lines
- Weight lifting
- Training for sports, including tennis, bowling, golf, etc.
- Any other mild repetitive motions
When you consistently do the same motion over and over, the build-up of tension can eventually reach a breaking point, causing pain and injury to a specific body location. An example of this would be someone throwing their back out by sneezing or bending over to pick up a pen. The action itself isn’t enough to cause severe injury, but as tension builds up in the body, it eventually needs to be released or it can damage your muscles and tendons.
Left untreated, RSIs can turn into more serious conditions, including:
- Carpal Tunnel
- “Tennis Elbow”
Repetitive strain injuries typically target the joints where wear and tear are most evident. Susceptible joints include:
While RSIs are painful, there are several tips you can take to limit the possibility of developing this stress injury over time.
Tips for Reducing Repetitive Strain Injuries
While there are many ways that you can contract RSIs, there are a few common ways that you can avoid them. Simple steps will help you prevent a build-up of tension over time to keep your body strong.
Throughout various industries, RSIs are typically a result of poor posture in an office space. Consistently putting your body in an ergonomically correct position will help mitigate the risk of injury. Some tips for proper posture include:
- Organize your workstation so that everything is easily within reach without overextending yourself.
- Use an office chair to put your feet flat on the floor while keeping the rest of your body aligned.
- Don’t sit with your legs crossed.
- Take time during the day to stand at your desk. Avoid letting your body settle in one position for too long.
- Place your computer monitor at eye level and arm’s length away from you.
- Use a headset for phone calls rather than cradling it between your ear and shoulder.
The biggest thing you can do to help your body is to sit naturally and comfortably. If your body becomes stiff and tired, rather than shifting to a position that could potentially harm your body, take a break from work to walk around and stretch.
While there are many ways that you harm your body with repetitive movements, you can reduce the risk of serious injury by taking care to protect yourself by studying your body, understanding its ergonomics, and taking care of your health. This will improve your chances of living a long, comfortable life free from any avoidable injuries.