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Ergonomic Injuries || Work Related Injuries || Musculoskeletal Disorders

Dr. aakash bansal
Dr. aakash bansal
Ergonomics means the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. It is concerned with arranging and designing things people use so that people and things interact most efficiently and safely.

Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.).

If back and neck pain bothers you after your 9 hour work shift, its high time that you need to change your posture. Sitting the right way can help you avoid stress on your muscles and joints that can leave you hurt.

When a person is exposed to MSD risk factors, they begin to fatigue. When fatigue outruns their body’s recovery system, they develop a musculoskeletal imbalance. Over time, as fatigue continues to outrun recovery and the musculoskeletal imbalance persists, a musculoskeletal disorder develops.

Common musculoskeletal disorders:

1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - A numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist

2. Tendinitis - A condition in which the tissue connecting muscle to bone becomes inflamed

3. Muscle / Tendon strain - A stretching or tearing of a muscle or a tissue connecting muscle to bone (tendon)

4. Ligament Sprain - A stretching or tearing of ligaments, the fibrous tissue that connects bones and joints

5 Tension Neck Syndrome - Neck Pain And Stiffness With Tenderness Of The Trapezius Muscle

6. Tennis Elbow - An irritation of the tissue connecting the forearm muscle to the elbow

7. DeQuervain’s Syndrome - A painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist

8. Degenerative Disc Disease

Signs and Symptoms:-

1. Pain in the fingers, wrists, or other parts of the body:  may include a dull aching pain,  a sharp stabbing pain, or even a burning sensation

2. Tingling or numbness, particularly in the hands or fingers 

3. Swelling, inflammation, or joint stiffness

4. Loss of muscle function or weakness

5. Discomfort or pain in the shoulders, neck, or upper or lower back 

6. Extremities turning white or feeling unusually cold

7. General feeling of muscle tightness, cramping, or discomfort

8. Clumsiness or loss of coordination 

9. Range of motion loss 

10. Discomfort when making certain movements

Some common tips to correct your posture during your Work-hours :-

1. Start With Your Seat

While you sit at a chair, your legs should be level or slightly lower than your seat. Both feet should be flat on the floor. If you're any higher or lower, change your seat height. If you're short and your chair won't adjust to the right height, use a footstool.

Your spine should be in line with the back of your chair, which should be tilted back a little bit, at about a 110-degree angle.

2. Check the height of your Monitor

To avoid straining your neck and eyes, center your computer monitor in front of you, about an arm's length away. The top of the monitor should be around 2 to 3 inches above your eye level. If you wear bifocals, it may be more comfortable to lower your monitor slightly.

3. Place keyboard in the Keyboard Tray

A lot of people place their keyboard directly on their desk, so it's just below chest level. But typing at that height for a long time limits circulation and stresses the joints and nerves in your arms, shoulders, and wrists. That can cause numbness and pain in those areas, as well as your back. It can even lead to long-term problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.

The fix: If it's possible, use a keyboard tray that's placed beneath your desktop. Your keyboard should be slightly below your elbows.

4. Lighten Up on Laptop Use

If you work on laptop constantly, place it on a desk and type on a separate keyboard and use a mouse.

Using a laptop on your lap for long periods of time causes you to bend your head forward. That puts pressure on the bones called vertebrae at the top of your neck, which can trigger headaches and pain in your back and neck.

Preferably, Limit your laptop use to no more than half an hour at a time.

5. Limit the use of phone 

Sending an occasional text or mail from phone is Ok but when you type on your phone for long time, you bend your head forward and put your spine and thus vertebrae under stress. 

The solution is simple. Connect your phone with your laptop or computer and type long messages when you can sit down with ease without putting pressure on your spine.


6. Take a lot of Breaks

Every 10 minutes, take a 15-20 secs rest and stretch your arms and fingers and every 30 minutes, take a quick 2 mins walk in your office. 

This gets your blood pumping and loosens up tight muscles and stiff joints. It also gives your eyes a chance to readjust, which can prevent computer related vision problems.

MSDs are the most common issues these days because of long working hours and stressful office environment. Many of you will be facing these issues in your regular life but don't know the exact cause. Examine your workplace better and see what all changes can you do that might give your body some relief from the stress.

Have a safe working environment!!

- Dr. Aakash Bansal

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