Most of a typical person’s day is spent at work. It should be no surprise that a good portion of the patients we see at One80 are coming to us due to job related injuries. Just like athletes who do active warm ups prior to exercise and use proper equipment in order to minimize the risk of injury, everyone should be preparing themselves for the activities of work.
Work related injury can range from a stiff neck due to poor ergonomics, a lumbar disc injury from lifting a heavy box, foot pain from improper shoe wear, or shoulder pain from repetitive reaching. Just by changing a few things, like your desk set up, doing a pre-work warm up, assessing footwear, and learning proper body mechanics, you can decrease the chances of a work-related injury.
Assess your workstation
Follow these tips to decrease the likelihood of cervical issues, thoracic outlet syndrome and carpal tunnel problems.
Keyboard: Place the keyboard directly in front of you, your arms should hang comfortably and your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. Adjust the slope of the keyboard so that your forearms, wrists and hands feel comfortable, and avoid resting on hard edges.
Mouse: Make sure the mouse is located immediately to the right or left of your keyboard. Use a mouse that fits well in your hand.
Monitor: The middle of the screen should be at eye level and directly in front of you so there is no need to turn your head. The monitor should be approximately two feet away from you. If you find yourself leaning forward or backwards, you may need to check your eyesight.
Sitting vs standing: Standing desks and workstations have become very popular recently. We are big fans of using both a sitting and standing workstation in order to change position throughout the day. If you don’t have a standing option, try to get up every 15-20 and take a short walk around your work area. Spending some of your workday sitting on a physioball is another great way to put your body in a different position and engage different muscles.
If your job involves lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, squatting or maybe even throwing, there are a few things you should due to avoid injury:
Are strong enough for the job? Employers usually give a baseline assessment to new hires in order to make sure they can tolerate the job. This doesn’t mean you are in great shape, it just means you meet minimum requirements. Employers would be smart to include a gym membership or an onsite work out area with some type of exercise education in order prevent on the job injury.
Use a daily warm up routine. Once again, a savvy employer would integrate an active total body warm up into the work day. In as little as 10 minutes, many workman’s compensation claims could be eliminated. This plan would also educate employees on the dangers of stretching, foam rolling, massage, etc.
Report injuries immediately. The faster you assess and treat an injury, the faster you can recover. Having either an onsite medical professional (PT, ATC, MD) or one close by that your company contracts with, can make the difference in missing a week or a month of work.
Break it up. Try to avoid doing the same task repetitively or sitting in one position all day. Take a quick break to do a functional movement pattern or take a short walk. No time? No room? No clue what a functional movement pattern is? Ask One80, we can show you that you do have time, you do have room, and the exercises are easier than you think.
As you can see, some easy preventative ideas can keep employees and employers from falling into the workman’s compensation rut. If you’d like One80 to help your company design a specific prevention plan or provide rehabilitation services, give us a call and add us to your team. As always, “Think Different. Live Well.”