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Common Office Health Issues, Treatment, and Prevention

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Office Health Issues

Most professionals spend at least eight hours at work daily. Regardless if it is tough, blue-collared labor or white-collared, thinking jobs, it’s bound to do some damage to the body.

RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury is a general term used to describe work-related upper body disorders. It causes pain, numbness, stiffness, and swelling to muscles, nerves and tendons found in the upper body. It usually affects a person’s forearms, wrists, elbows, hands, neck, and shoulders. 

RSI is one of the most common and costly health problems. In 2005, there were hundreds of thousands American workers affected. The damage resulted in more than $20 billion in worker compensation costs in that year.In 2011, an estimated 2.3 Canadian adults (or 1 out of 10) are suffering from effects of RSI. This then caused lost productivity in work and to their normal activities. 

Causes of RSI

As its namesake, this disorder is caused by repetitive action that someone does every day. Ordinary movements such as typing on a keyboard, clicking on a computer mouse, or working at a supermarket checkout may seem harmless activities. These seemingly light tasks become a hazard when repeated daily for extended periods of time because they can force the body into uncomfortable positions.

Since the use of computers in the 1970s, this ailment has become more frequent because it rendered workers to perform a range of tasks while being in a fixed position for a long period of time. Among the most common ailments that the body may suffer through repetitive work is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. 

Common RSI Ailments


  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, JP Office Workstations

    Like CTS, Tension Neck Syndrome (TNS) is common among office workers who sit idly in front of the computer all day. In technical terms, TNS refers to muscle pain of the neck, shoulder, and arm area. It is usually caused by unsupported seating and leaning for extended periods of time. This is bad because hunching in front of the monitor for long periods of time causes strains on the muscles on your neck and shoulders. Aside from pain, among the effects of TNS are tension type headaches rooting from the neck, muscular spasms, and stiffness of the neck.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome



    Tension Neck Syndrome, JP Office Workstations

    Like CTS, Tension Neck Syndrome (TNS) is common among office workers who sit idly in front of the computer all day. In technical terms, TNS refers to muscle pain of the neck, shoulder, and arm area. It is usually caused by unsupported seating and leaning for extended periods of time. This is bad because hunching in front of the monitor for long periods of time causes strains on the muscles on your neck and shoulders. Aside from pain, among the effects of TNS are tension type headaches rooting from the neck, muscular spasms, and stiffness of the neck.

    Forward Head Posture, JP Office Workstations

    This gets worse as it causes a domino effect that affects the middle and lower back portion, as bad posture also cause strains in those areas.

Treatment

Luckily, effects of RSI can be cured through treatment. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be treated and prevented in a number of ways. A person with such ailment could opt for anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS, Corticosteroids, etc) which bring relief to the irritation. He could also wear wrist braces that protect the wrists and help the median nerve to stabilize to normal conditions.

Cortisone injection is applied if inflammation still persists after applying medicine and wrist braces. Injectable Cortisone is a synthetic medicine made from steroids produced by your adrenal gland. It is a powerful medicine to treat inflammations and it’s more effective because it is injected directly to the affected area. However, it can cause brief pain to the receiver because of Cortisone Flare. In worst cases, surgical procedures are applied. 

Carpal Tunnel Release and Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release are among these methods wherein pressure is released from the carpal tunnel by exposing it. The difference between the two is that the latter needs only a small incision rather than fully opening the palm. Many physicians prefer the former, since the open cut ensures that pressure is released to the max.

Tension Neck Syndrome too has a number of treatments available and involves much simpler solutions than CTS. The trick is to ease muscle tension through traditional ways. Getting a massage, for example, is recommended since it helps push out stress and tension from the body. A hot bath is ideal as well, because the heat makes it easy for the muscles to lose tension, giving you a soothing feeling. And regular exercise, given that it’s not too painful, is also recommended since it builds your muscles’ tolerance against stress in uncomfortable positions. Opt for a light exercise routine like jogging to avoid further hurting your upper body.

Now let’s take a look at some simple methods to prevent effects of RSI. 

Prevention

Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome With Better Posture

There are certain simple actions that could help people from preventing the effects of RSI. It all lies on minimizing stress on parts of your upper body.If your job requires a lot of typing, pause for five minutes every hour. This gives your hands a chance to rest.

  • - If your job requires a lot of typing, pause for five minutes every hour. This gives your hands a chance to rest.
  • - Use ergonomic chairs and tables. This kind of furniture is specifically meant to reduce stress to the body and improve posture by putting you in a comfortable position while working.
  • - Stretch neck muscles every 30 to 40 minutes to get rid of any strains.

  • - Stretch neck muscles every 30 to 40 minutes to get rid of any strains.  

Mouse Handling


  • - Lift your hands a little when typing on the keyboard. This will prevent it from being pressed against your desk (the same goes with using a mouse).
  • - Use a mouse pad that has a cushion. The soft cushion prevents your wrists from touching your work table. 

Fenng Shui

Get to know your metaphysical environment too. The Chinese principle of FengShui focuses on bringing harmony between a person and his surroundings. If you’re aiming for staying healthy at work, it would help a lot of you’d know how to get the positive energies flowing. Refer to the Feng Shui Bagua Map. This map is based on the eight trigrams, and it shows where positive energy that will benefit a certain aspect of life is situated at. This teaches you the location where these energies flow in your desk, hence.

FengShui

Think of this map as your desk. Clutter causes stress and havoc, thus preventing the flow of health-governing energies. Since positive energy for health only flows on the middle left side, it would be advised to avoid cluttering that area to ensure that positive energy will influence your health.

Repetitive Strain Injury and its other variants bring many inconveniences for both employees and the whole company. Inability to work would lead to unproductivity, and will cost the company for employee compensation. Treatment and prevention then through better work environment, some simple habits, and knowledge of positive energy flow makes up for a happier workplace.


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