Work-related injury an increasing problem
If your job requires you to repeat the same movements throughout the day, then you may be at risk for soft tissue injury. Further, if your job constrains the amount of movement you are getting, you are probably at risk for several health problems.Work-related injuries to the body’s soft tissue largely involve the muscles and connective tissue, known as the myofascial system. Conditions associated with work-related injury include overuse syndromes and repetitive stress Injuries.These injuries are not necessarily traumatic in nature. The time when symptoms appear is not always related to a single event.Work-related soft tissue injuries may have a slow onset, starting with a dull ache or soreness. The pain may be random, intermittent, only appearing monthly. However, the pain may intensify and occur more frequently, if not treated.Myofascial damage can also occur without pain. Your connective tissue may be adhering, or “gluing down” to nearby physical structures. If your work is repetitive in nature, you want to take precautions against adhesions. By the time you experience pain, the condition may be difficult to treat.If your job restricts your mobility, take time for stretching breaks. Also, set up your workstation ergonomically. Take a weekly minute to set up your desk for comfort and good posture. Reassess your working environment monthly for optimal physical conditions.As our workplace efficiency is increased, we unintentionally make health sacrifices. We have witnessed a rise in the presence of desktop computers and other technological advancements in the workplace. Work that is physically repetitive also increases, as job duties become more specific.We now face the physical effects of being confined to a desk all day. We must treat and correct the resulting physical restrictions.While technology has advanced our productivity in the workplace, our medical practices are also being reshaped. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has become widely utilized by Americans.Rebecca Chiodo, a nurse and energy medicine practitioner, describes natural ways to treat these injuries. “Repetitive activities which can cause tendonitis and carpal tunnel (problems) can be counterbalanced by regular activities that move and stretch those tendons in a different direction. Most get relief from tendonitis and carpal tunnel pain with ice, splints, massage, rest, and acupuncture.”In an August 2005 survey by the American Massage Therapy Association, participants found massage therapy to be effective for pain relief. Also, huge increases were noted in the use of massage by older adults. Young adults were the most likely to seek natural therapies such as massage for pain relief, which could possibly reflect a shift in the health perspectives of younger generations.If you experience work-related pain from repetitive movement, consider treating your condition quickly and naturally.Nina Schnipper is a certified medical massage therapist and fitness trainer. To attend her Jan. 24 workshop, “Neck Pain: Causes and Self-Care,” call Nina at 948-0179, or drop by the Glenwood Centre for Well-Being at 809 Grand Ave. in downtown Glenwood Springs.
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Editor’s note: Managing Editor and Senior Reporter John Stroud did not participate in discussions for this editorial since he is the primary reporter on the story.