Repetitive Stress Injury or RSI is referred to as the workplace epidemic of the 21st century. The problem affects millions of people who spend long hours at a computer. However any job that requires repetitive motions puts you at risk of RSI, which forms part of office syndrome – various ailments brought about by negative factors in your work environment.
Working for long periods of time without moving can contribute to some common symptoms such as obesity, dry eye syndrome, headaches, hemorrhoids, muscle pain and even cardiovascular disease due to stress.
Tips for the Desk-bound
Today’s sophisticated technology allows workers to do everything right at their desk with a click of a mouse. Clicking away for hours on end aggravates those already tired, overused body parts. This desk-bound stress is killing you. The result is microscopic tears in muscles, nerves and tendons and these tears become inflamed.
At first, you don’t notice anything, but the gradual accumulation of these micro-traumas leads to this overuse injury known as repetitive stress injury. You land up with pain, loss of strength, tingling sensations and numbness in the shoulders, arms, hands, wrists and neck. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most frequently diagnosed form of repetitive stress injury. Office ergonomics can help you to get rid of those syndromes.
Let’s look at 5 different ways to treat office syndrome –
1. Desk ergonomics:
A poor working environment leads to unnatural sitting positions, resulting in constant muscle contraction and pain. Ensure you have an ergonomically friendly working environment. The workstation needs to be fitted to each individual with the proper size and height of desk, chair and computer. If your feet don’t reach the floor, ensure you have a footstool for them to rest on.
2. Ergonomic sitting:
Sit with good posture, keeping your spine against the back of your chair. The upper body and neck need to be in a relaxed, comfortable position. Vary your tasks and get up and stretch your muscles so as to maintain muscle flexibility. Rest your muscles by changing your posture regularly and manage your rest sufficiently.
3. Computer ergonomics:
Position your mouse pad within easy reach. Take a good look at your work area and make sure you’re able to use your computer, keyboard and mouse with ease so as to avoid discomfort to the body. Gripping the mouse too hard puts a strain on your wrist and hand. Research an ergonomically designed mouse, as with their sculptured design, your hand will rest on it instead of gripping it which ultimately leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
4. Ergonomically correct chair:
Set your chair’s height according to your size for postural comfort. The chair needs a stable 5-point base, a seat that adjusts for height and tilt, a backrest shaped to support the lower back, a swivel mechanism and made from breathable fabric. The chair should also have adjustable armrests.
People in hand-intensive jobs should do a few minutes of warm-up stretches for the wrists, hands, neck, and shoulders. There is even ‘stretching’ software programs available which will remind you to do your stretches. Also, take a break, get up and move around to just give those overused muscles a chance to relax. In jobs that don’t permit walk breaks, stretching exercises at the desk can be helpful.
With office syndrome, the wisest move is to look at preventative measures and to rid ourselves of bad habits in the work place. Take a good look at your posture and practice proper body alignment at your desk. Back pain is the most common result of poor posture. By focusing on the set-up of your desk, chair and computer, you can reduce your chances of pain and injuries. Apart from this you should also aware of the ways of stress reducing.
Ergonomics in the workplace is important as it addresses a worker’s pain and discomfort. A large part of good ergonomics in the workplace involves workstation arrangement and work habits – sitting properly, taking breaks and exercising, because then you enjoy your job and also benefit from long-lasting health and fitness.