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Tips for preventing repetitive stress injuries at work

Repetitive stress injuries are common in a wide variety of jobs and work duties. Whether you work in an office, construction site or retail environment, you may be prone to repetitive strain. Simple actions such as typing, grabbing tools or scanning items can injure you. These injuries accumulate due to repetitive motions. Common RSIs include:

  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Trigger finger

If your job causes you to develop this type of injury, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. That said, you may also be able to prevent these injuries.

Take frequent breaks

Of course, the most effective way to stop the damage from repetitive actions is to stop the behavior. Do not perform repetitive motions for hours without pausing. Make a point to take regular rests. Even stopping for a minute every hour can go a long way toward preventing injury. Breaks can include stretching, walking around, marching in place, flexing your wrists or wiggling your fingers. 

Utilize ergonomic tools

There are various ways to make workstations more ergonomic. If you use a computer all day, a wrist pad can help relieve tension. If you are on your feet for long stretches of time, you may benefit from standing on ergonomic mats. 

Exercise

Being in poor physical condition causes you to be at a higher risk of repetitive strain injuries. Exercising can help keep your muscles, tendons and ligaments strong. Of course, you do not want to work out too strenuously, or it may be counterproductive. 

Know the warning signs

Learn to recognize early symptoms of common RSIs. Initial signs may include pain, tenderness and stiffness. Once an RSI develops into a more serious condition, you may notice tingling, stiffness, swelling, weakness and throbbing. These symptoms may start gradually and become more severe and constant with time. When you identify an injury early on, you can take actions to stop it from worsening.  

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