It is a misconception that people who work in construction or industrial environments are the only ones at risk of injuries at work. Even if you work in a comfy office, there are many health and safety risks you have to consider. In fact, the CDC found that people who work in an office are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to get injured from a fall than non-office workers.
Office hazards frequently include poor ergonomics, sprains and strains, heavy lifting and electric shock.
Here are some of the most common injuries in the workplace:
Sprains and strains
In construction, sprains and strains account for a third of the injuries that occur. A sprain is when a ligament is stretched or torn. A strain is when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn. Sprains and strains can occur suddenly or happen over the course of a few days. Work tasks that put a lot of pressure on the body or put the body into poor ergonomic positions can lead to sprains and strains, as well as awkward posture and excessive repetition. Your health and physical fitness are also factors that can make you susceptible to sprains and strains.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
When you’re repeating the same actions throughout the day – using a computer mouse a lot and continuous typing – you’re at the risk of suffering from repetitive strain injury. Repetitive strain injury is when you experience pain and stiffness in areas like the hands, arms, wrists, fingers, neck, and shoulders. It’s quite a common disorder in the workplace, and about one in eight workers have been diagnosed with it. Poor posture and doing a high-intensity activity without rest can also lead to repetitive strain injury. Symptoms can include, tightness, dull ache, pain, throbbing, numbness, and tingling. Without treatment, the symptoms of RSI can exacerbate and become constant and cause longer periods of pain.
Many occupations can place significant stress on your back – even routine office work like sitting at your desk all day, or presenting to an audience. Frequent workplace back injuries include slipped discs, lower back strain and pinched nerves. Back pain can also come from lifting heavy objects or overextension, or from a gradual, continuous strain on back muscles and the structures protecting your vertebrae. Acute pain comes on suddenly, but disappears after two or three weeks. Chronic pain can occur over time and can last for years. Make sure to get your back pain treated and diagnosed before it worsens.
Neck pain might not seem like a big deal at first, but it can be debilitating and affect your way of life. Neck injuries are unfortunately very common in all kinds of work environments, and the causes range from slips and falls to poor ergonomic seating positions. This often results in soft tissue damage, torn muscles and strained ligaments. Whether your neck pain is mild or serious, it’s important to get it treated as soon as you can.
If you have any symptoms - don’t hesitate to come on in and book a complimentary consultation.
How to prevent and reduce the risk of work injuries
Here’s what you can do to prevent work injuries:
- Better ergonomics
Sitting at a desk all day can lead to muscle strains and injuries. And it doesn’t help if you have poor posture or an uncomfortable chair with inadequate back support. To prevent ergonomic injuries, you can position your chair, keyboard, and screen straight in line with your body – you can also adjust your chair’s height so your feet are comfortably on the ground. Taking adequate breaks can also reduce the risk of injury, even if it’s a short walk every 20 minutes or some stretches to release tension.
One of the best things we can do when stuck sitting all day long 5 days a week is to move. That can be getting up every hour and have a walk around or doing a few leg and back stretches. That can be going for some exercise at lunch time or even before work. But a surefire way to get back pain is to stay stationary for 8 hours at a time.
- Lift properly
If you’re required to lift and carry heavy objects, make sure you do so correctly. Try to lift with your legs and tighten your core muscles. Don’t twist when lifting heavy items, maintain the normal curve of your back. Make sure to hold the object close to your body to prevent hurting your back.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
This isn’t something that can be done overnight, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to preventing injuries. To avoid aches in areas like your neck and back, you need to exercise and strengthen the surrounding muscles. By staying active, you’ll stabilise your joints and be less likely to suffer from sprains and strains.
Neck and back pain isn’t something that should be taken lightly. If you have a workplace injury of any kind, it’s important to get it treated by a professional immediately. At Synergy Physio, we can provide full recovery and prevent the problem from returning.
Book a free consultation with one of our specialists, and we’ll advise you on which steps to take next.