Yesterday, I introduced ways to improve awareness regarding work injuries. Let’s shift gears in this segment and hit on some possible solutions.
Awareness is key. Knowing the causes of work injuries, and in particular, overuse type injuries, is an important first step toward improving worker fitness and health. Keeping you injury free is a worthy goal. But helping you move toward that goal has its benefits too, such as improving comfort at work, having more energy after work, and improving the quality and performance of the work (and play) you do.
Second, consider the idea of fatigue. If for example you are entering data at a keyboard, you may at times notice that the muscles of your forearms or hands are becoming fatigued. In those instances, fatigue is a major warning sign! If you continually move through the fatigue phase and don’t allow the tissues of your body to rest, you’re increasing the likelihood of developing an overuse condition. Refer back to yesterday’s blog on the causes I outlined.
That’s why I educate workers in the 20/20 rule. Taking 20 seconds every 20 minutes to breathe, rest, stretch, or move is a huge step you can take to reduce overuse type injuries. Simply breathe deeply for 20 seconds. Roll your shoulders. Stretch your back. Do something, anything. . . other than continuing to work through fatigue. The 20/20 rule is designed to keep your tissues from getting overworked, to the point that fatigue gives way to discomfort, and then discomfort gives way to pain. That’s a slippery slope you want to avoid. And to help you with this, I encourage you to check out a helpful site that can remind you to take these small, helpful breaks. It’s RSI guard.
Here are a couple other ideas to consider:
- Establish proper work place ergonomics, such as alignment, work heights, seating, lighting, sound.
- Use stress reduction strategies.
- Recognize and report symptoms early in an attempt to avoid working through pain and problems.