In today’s busy culture, it is no secret that people are putting in more hours than ever in the workplace. But working hard has its health risks, and repetitive stress injuries are often the bane of an otherwise productive and enjoyable career. Here are just a few common workplace repetitive stress or motion injuries that many people will experience at one time or another over the course of their careers, and why changing one’s workplace habits and posture can often be a life-changing experience for the better.
1. Tendinitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There can be little doubt that technological advances have made workplaces more efficient than ever, but as more and more office work is completed on computers, a large number of working professionals are beginning to experience chronic pain in their hands, wrists, and forearms on a regular basis.
Many of these professionals are actually experiencing conditions such as tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome; these conditions are often caused by inflammation of the tendons or irritation of the nerves in the hand or wrist. They are often the result of regularly working at a computer keyboard: Because many people tend to type with poor wrist placement, tendons or nerves can easily become irritated over time.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or treat cases of these conditions without too much hassle. Doctors can also provide great advice on treating or preventing cases of carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis, so don’t skip that yearly check-up!
2. Back Pain
Undoubtedly, back pain is one of the most common workplace conditions that people experience over the course of their careers. This type of pain can stem from a variety of different causes: In warehouses, heavy lifting can seriously strain back muscles and irritate tendons, and in offices, poor sitting postures can result in chronic back spasms and discomfort. If the problem becomes serious, individuals should consult a physician.
To help improve incidents of back pain at work, try paying attention to your sitting posture while working. Purchasing an ergonomic chair can help keep the back pain blues away; many standard office chairs are often uncomfortable to sit in and fail to provide adequate lower-back support.
In a warehouse or similar environment, moreover, practicing proper lifting techniques is a central facet of avoiding repetitive stress injuries in the workplace. Most people hurt their backs at work because their postures tend to put too much stress on their muscles and tendons, and keeping one’s back straight and one’s chest out while lifting heavy objects can really help prevent serious long-term injuries.
Moreover, our sleeping habits may also exacerbate our workplace injuries. If you have a mattress that does not provide proper amounts of back support, for example, try looking for a sleeping product that will provide real relaxation and comfort when you need it most.
As we have seen in prior examples, there can be little doubt that dealing with workplace stress can have a serious impact on our bodily health. Indeed, grinding of the teeth (bruxism) is often a common “side-effect” of dealing with workplace stressors and challenges.
When we clench our jaw muscles when stressed, those muscles can become sore; we can also damage our teeth, crowns, or dental implants if we grind our teeth too much. Take a moment to relax if you find yourself clenching your jaw muscles or grinding your teeth at work: Too often, a bruxism habit becomes so ingrained in our stress-relief routine that we don’t even realize that we’re grinding our teeth on a regular basis.
If bruxism becomes a serious issue in the workplace, try talking to a dental specialist about what you can do to curb your grinding behaviors. If you grind your teeth at night when deadlines are looming, for example, many dentists can create a special mouthguard for you to wear while sleeping.
More often than not, a quick visit to the dentist will help you find a solution to a bruxism problem. In addition to damaging teeth, bruxism can also cause us to feel intense headaches throughout the day. That can be a real pain!