5 of the Most Common Injuries for Office Workers

common injuries workplace office workers desk

Let’s face it, an office job may not be the most physically demanding career, but it certainly comes with its injuries. While you may think your body is immune and resistant to any injuries, just be warned that your body endures long hours of sitting in one position, staring at computer monitors, or perhaps performing physical manual labor (such as moving a desk chair or lifting reams of paper). With that said, there is a good chance that your body could succumb to the strains of your usual work day. Listed below are 5 of the most common injuries for office workers, and if you suspect that you have experienced any injuries while at work, it is important to have a physiotherapist or doctor assess your health.

The Top 5 Common Workplace Injuries

1. Repetition Injuries

In light of the use of computers and machines at the workplace, one of the most common injuries to hit Australia is repetition injuries. These injuries can happen if you work with heavy machines or even if you use smaller workplace tools such as a pen, keyboard, or mouse. One of the most common of these workplace injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is when inflammation attacks your wrist ligaments and tissue and it causes extreme pain whenever you your wrist moves in a certain way. One of the biggest causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is the frequent and repetitive use of a keyboard or a click mouse that you use on a computer, so it is easy to see why workplace injuries affect a large number of office workers. If you are someone who experiences repetitive motion injuries, the good news is there are things you can do to prevent them. Let’s take a look at a few preventative techniques you can employ at your office.

Stretching

Common stretching techniques can help to dampen the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. Simple stretching techniques that involve gentle extension and flexion of the wrist can help to prevent some of the inflammation in the joint area. Consider light stretches two or three times throughout the day, holding each for 30 seconds each to gain this benefit.

Strength Training

Some experts believe that strengthening the wrist muscles around the joint space may help to prevent the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. Simple wrist exercises such as isokinetic hand squeezes with resistance can help to improve the strength in your wrist and forearm muscles. Also, wrist flexion and extension exercises using light weights can help to improve your side effects and possibly prevent the injury from occurring.

2. Fractures

This is one of the most popular injuries in Australia and it can be due to a number of factors. For example, workplace slips and falls are common in Australia (and around the world for that matter) can lead to fractures anywhere on the body. Some areas most commonly fractured due to slips and falls include fractured hips, wrists, spine, and arms (humerus). If you have ever had an accidental slip and fall at work, it is important to have your body assessed for a fracture. In order to prevent fractures from occurring in the future, consider making sure that you have sure footing before making any swift movements, be aware of your surroundings when on a ladder, and consider watching out for spilled liquid on floors.

3. Stress

It may be alarming, but workplace stress (mental) is one of Australia’s most common workplace injuries. While it may not cause physical harm to your bones or musculature, it is responsible for a good portion of absences in the workplace. In the office setting, mental stress can be a cause of overworking without breaks, which can lead to a decrease in your encouragement and performance as well. If you compare the effects of a physical injury to mental stress, the results may be a bit shocking. Mental stress is responsible for about five percent of missed time in the office, making this a major issue among those overworked. In order to decrease mental stress in the office, you can employ a few techniques. Deep breathing techniques lasting a few minutes at a time can be the easiest way to decrease stress in a hurry, especially at your desk. In addition, taking mental breaks away from all office work throughout the day can be a productive way to avoid mental stress at the office. Consider these two methods for starters and let your stress melt away so that you can be productive and healthy.

4. Lower Back Pain

This is possibly the most common office injury that workers get and it is caused from a number of factors as well. For starters, many office workers spend a fair amount of time sitting at a desk when working, which can cause very tight hamstrings. In addition, sitting in an ergonomic position throughout the day is not always feasible and can cause fatigue, which can lead to a slouched or slumped posture. These two factors affect many workers and are two major reasons why you could be experiencing lower back pain at the office. To alleviate this issue, you should consider breaking up your sitting time by installing a walking workstation or by taking a walk around your work campus. Also, consider light stretches for your legs, hamstrings, and lower back muscles to help prevent harmful strains in your lower back muscles. Consider a toe touch stretch two or three times per day and hold this stretch for about 30 seconds.

5. Muscle Strains

If you have a career that involves any sort of lifting then yo5 u are at risk for muscle strains. Career paths that involve manual labor (such as lifting heavy objects like reams of paper, etc.,) are at greatest risk of muscle strains and aches, so if this is you, pay close attention. It is important to use proper body mechanics when you have a need to lift anything at the office, even if it is not very dense. Poor mechanics is one of the most common ways to strain muscles and cause injuries at the office (aside from sitting). Lifting heavy objects should include bending your knees and using as much of your leg muscles as possible. Also, if you are carrying something heavy over a distance, it is important to keep the heavy object close to your body to avoid back strain. Regardless of what is causing your muscular strain, it is important to seek options for the best body mechanics possible for your job.

 

References
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072780/
[2] https://edway.edu.au/australias-5-most-common-workplace-injuries/
[3] http://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au/small-business-resources/human-resources-blogs/4-most-common-workplace-injuries.html