How can I Prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries?

Repetitive Strain Injuries
Repetitive strain injuries are described as injuries to the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems that are caused by repetitive tasks, movements, or sensory inputs. The term repetitive strain injury is a blanket term that is used to describe a number of familiar conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, or golfer's elbow. These phenomena have been described throughout history. Documents of repetitive strain injuries have been found dating back to the early eighteenth century. In almost all cases, it is much better to work to prevent repetitive strain injuries than to attempt to treat them after they have already occurred. Though prevention techniques can vary depending on the exact nature of the repetitive strain injury, there are a number of general techniques that can be applied to a variety of situations.

By the time symptoms of repetitive strain injuries are noticed, there is already substantial amounts of damage that has occurred. Prevention of repetitive strain injury begins with posture. Good posture is absolutely essential to avoid repetitive strain injuries. One of the most common repetitive strain injuries is caused by sitting at the computer and typing for very long periods of time. Feet should be flat on the floor and the knees should be directly over the feed. Pelvis should be forward and in a comfortable position. Lower back should be arched in and the upper back should be rounded in a natural way. Shoulders and arms should be relaxed. In this situation, posture can be greatly affected by the external environment; things such as keyboard location, the location of the monitor, and the chair you are sitting in. Other repetitive strain injuries will have their own individual checklists for posture.

Aside from posture, another very important aspect of repetitive strain injury prevention is stretching and warming up. It is very important that general exercise and stretching is taken into account with any type of work. Stretching will help muscles and tendons stay pliable and flexible which will help in the prevention of repetitive strain injuries. General exercise will work in a number of ways. General exercise (and cardiovascular exercise in particular) will promote the growth of new blood vessels and will increase circulation throughout the body. In addition, healing hormones and growth hormones will be released which can go a long way to help in the prevention of repetitive strain injuries.

Another way of avoiding repetitive strain injury is to take breaks and only work when work is required. Breaks are just as important to avoiding injury as they are to avoid getting burned out. The simple act of taking breaks will give your muscles a chance to relax and cool down from the activity you are performing. This cool down period is absolutely essential to give the nerves and muscles associated with the activity a proper chance to relax. Without this break, the body would continually be receiving the same nerve signals and would eventually become attenuated to these signals, thereby becoming desensitized to them. This is a major issue with many repetitive strain injuries that can be avoided simply by taking breaks and not working too hard.

Repetitive strain injuries are a very prevalent medical problem in contemporary society. In a world where computers and work inside (and typically in a seated position) is performed for hours at a time and multiple days each week, it is essential that the possibility of repetitive strain injuries occurring be taken into account. In most cases, these illnesses are much easier to prevent than to treat once they have occurred. With this fact in mind, there are a number of takeaway points here that can be applied immediately in everyday life. Get proper exercise. Make sure that you take the breaks that you need at work and don't do excess work unless it is absolutely required. Finally, make sure you have proper posture in whatever you are doing. Proper posture, exercise, and breaks have a variety of benefits that go beyond preventing repetitive strain injuries and should be taken into account in everything that you do.

Written by : Alexander Maness, United States (M.S. in Biotechnology )

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice