The most well-known repetitive motion injury for those working at a desk is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because it is also the most common and can be the most debilitating. There are others as well and, while they can be treated, they can also be prevented. Here is how to avoid injury due to repetitive motion if you work at a desk most of the day.
Make Your Desk More Ergonomic
There are ways to make your desk your biggest ally when it comes to repetitive motion injury prevention. Your office chair can allow you to sit up straight as well as at the right height so your arms are the right angle for your keyboard. Your monitor should be at the right height for your vision as well. Wrist pads for both your keyboard and mouse can help your wrists stay properly positioned without you having to hold your forearm up, reducing strain on your elbow and shoulder.
Take Breaks from Your Computer
There are differing opinions when it comes to how often and for how long you should take breaks from your desk and computer. Some say a five minute break every half hour and some say a 10 or 15-minute break every hour. It may be wise to try different schedules when it comes to breaks to find out what works for you. It has also been proven that regular breaks from your desk can make you more productive when you do get back to work. This is because rest is important and can help you to function better—physically and mentally.
Exercise at Your Desk
When you are taking breaks from your computer, you can do much more than just walk to another desk to chat with a coworker or get another cup of coffee in the breakroom. Performing desk exercises allows you to stretch out your body. This will make it so that you are less likely to come down with a repetitive motion injury. You can strengthen the parts of your body that are more likely to succumb to such an injury and you can also make it so that you are more comfortable when you do get back to your desk.
Replace Your Keyboard
A typical keyboard can often be the cause of many wrist and arm injuries when it comes to repetitive motions. There are more ergonomic choices that can prevent these injuries. These keyboards can be curved in the front, on top, or both. While it may take some time to adjust to them, they can often make it much easier to type even. Evaluate what your needs are and check out your local computer store. See if they have a few keyboards that you could give a try. As you experiment with them, pay attention to how your wrists feel as you type. Is there less of a strain? Do you feel less rigid in your motion? If so, then you should consider getting one so that you can prevent ending up with a repetitive motion injury.
While it is possible to prevent these types of injuries, you may still get a repetitive motion injury from the years you didn’t take these precautions. You might still get an injury such as this even if you have taken these measures the whole time. If you are in need of workers’ compensation because of a repetitive motion injury, you may want to seek legal advice.