Office workers are often tasked with using their minds rather than their muscles to carry out job responsibilities. However, most office workers still need to use their bodies -- particularly those who type, use computers, stuff envelopes or do other repetitive tasks around the workplace.
The repetition associated with these tasks can really add up and take its toll on your joints over time. With proper posture and proper ergonomics, though, workers can prevent and resolve a lot of different kinds of repetitive stress injuries.
Tips to avoid repetitive strain at the office
One of the most common kinds of repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome. Another is referred to as "Blackberry Thumb," which workers can develop after typing too much on their smartphones. Essentially, if you're over-using any joint in the body, for example, a repetitive stress injury (RSI) can develop.
You can avoid many of these injuries, however, by adhering to the following advice:
- Sit comfortably: Don't twist around in your chair or adopt an unnatural position for your body. Also, keep things close to you so you don't have to reach at awkward angles to get your stapler, phone or other items on your desk.
- Adopt a neutral alignment: Adjust everything so that you can be relaxed. Adjust the armrests on your chair so your elbows and shoulders can relax and adjust the height of your chair so your feet can rest flat on the floor.
- Don't use the kickstands on your keyboard: A lot of keyboards allow you to lift up the backs of them with little plastic kickstands. Don't use these. If anything you should be holding your hands at a downward angle. Bending the wrists up and back like this can promote carpal tunnel and other issues over time.
- Take your wallet and other items out of your pockets: Putting things in your pockets -- especially your back pockets -- can result in you sitting with your hips at a bad angle. This can hurt your back and your hips and cause numerous health problems over time.
Have you suffered a repetitive strain injury due to working in an office?
The more office workers are willing to learn about office ergonomics, the less likely they'll hurt themselves. If a repetitive strain injury does develop, however, workers may want to turn their attention toward workers' compensation laws and how they might be able to get money to pay for their medical care and time spent unable to work due to injuries.