Last year, a study commissioned by Acuvue found that office workers in the UK spend 1,700 hours a year working on a computer. They will spend an average of 6 and a half hours a day sitting at their computer or laptop, with many also admitting that they did not take sufficient breaks from their workstation. It’s no surprise that repetitive strain injury claims are on the rise.
With repetitive strain injury blighting the UK population more than ever, steps can be taken to either prevent or improve symptoms. Leading repetitive strain injury expert Dr Emil Pascarelli states that, as long as you treat it early, you should be able to recover fairly quickly. However, it is important that you address your symptoms as soon as possible because ‘if you let the condition progress, you’ll never be the same because of deep tissue scarring…it’s not like a broken bone that mends; the soft tissue is subjected to micro-tearing, and the tissue that replaces it is scarred and more susceptible to injury. So, often, people fall into a vicious cycle of injury and re-injury.’
What are the symptoms?
Some symptoms of a repetitive strain injury can include:
- Burning, aching or shooting pains in your limbs
- Weakness or loss of grip in your hands
- Stiffness and tenderness in your arms, hands or legs
- Cramp and pain in the affected area
- Tingling and/or numbness in your hands or fingers
What can I do to make improvements?
It’s important to try and make yourself as comfortable as possible at your workstation and avoid slouching in your seat or typing incorrectly. The NHS has suggested limiting the number of keystrokes that you have to use on your computer or on a portable device with predictive text. Slowing down the speed that you use your mouse can also improve any potential RSI injuries. Make sure that you are using a desk chair that appropriately supports your back and won’t cause any back pain in addition to RSI in your hands and fingers.
The risk of carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a more specific repetitive strain injury and can ultimately involve very painful surgery if you do not prevent and treat any symptoms at an early stage. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs in your wrists and is the result of pressure being forced onto the median nerve, which is a major nerve that is located inside your wrist. It can be caused by frequently bending your wrist, gripping hard or using vibrating work tools. In order to avoid the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worsening, you may have to wear supportive hand splints while carrying out tasks that aggravate your symptoms.
Which jobs are most at risk of developing RSI?
Office workers are not the only people who are susceptible to developing repetitive strain injury. Another job role that could put you at risk of a repetitive strain injury is being a factory worker who perform repetitive tasks on a production line and has to remain in a difficult posture for a long time.
If you feel that you developed a Repetitive Strain Injury, it is best to deal with your symptoms as soon as possible in order to avoid them worsening. If you feel that your employer has put your health at risk because of negligence, you could be able to make a claim with the help of expert industrial disease solicitors that will help you along with your recovery.