A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is any injury that occurs due to long-term wear and tear on a part of the body from a repeated motion. These injuries can include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, bursitis, and other common conditions that over time can become severely debilitating.

Repetitive movements, awkward postures, and handling heavy power tools day after day in a work environment can take a serious toll on your body, whether you work on an assembly line or at a desk job.

Now, RSI doesn’t necessarily mean short-term pain. On the contrary, it might lead to a forced career change or even long-term disability if you’re not careful. But you may be able to prevent repetitive strain injury by incorporating the information presented below into your daily routines.

As well, if you or a loved one is already hurting, the seasoned New York construction accident lawyers at Schwartzapfel Lawyers can help. We have over (150) years of combined experience fighting – and winning – for workers like you. Contact us online or call us now at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation and so much more!

What Causes Repetitive Strain Injuries?

Think about what you do on a typical workday. Swinging a golf club, typing at a desk, gripping tools, laying bricks — these are all repetitive motions. While your body is amazingly resilient, there’s a limit to what it can withstand.

When you overuse muscles, tendons, and ligaments without enough rest, they become inflamed and damaged. It’s a slow process, but the pain can hit you hard. And there are plenty of factors that make RSI a major risk. Consider the following example from the construction industry:

  • Repetitive Tasks: Tasks that involve the same actions over and over are a prime culprit.
  • Overuse Of Power Tools: The vibration and force required can strain your hands, wrists, and arms.
  • Poor Posture: Awkward bending, twisting, and reaching put pressure on your joints and muscles.
  • Long Periods Of Work Without Breaks: Your body needs time to recover, even for short periods throughout the day.

If you feel pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, or neck, pay attention. Those could be early symptoms of RSI. Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable — seek medical advice early.

How Can You Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury?

Your body is your most important tool on the job — you want to protect it. So, you might be wondering how to prevent repetitive strain injury so that you can work comfortably and effectively in the year to come. These tips can help you protect your body from strain that can lead to nagging pain and serious RSIs.

1. Optimize Your Workstation For Proper Posture

It doesn’t matter if you’re operating heavy machinery or making PowerPoint presentations — your posture is key. To keep your spine in alignment and your joints spared from unnecessary aches and pains, please know that:

  • Your Chair Matters: Find an adjustable chair that supports your lower back and lets your feet rest flat on the ground (or on a footrest).
  • Keep It Level: Your computer monitor should be at eye level or slightly below and about an arm’s length away. This keeps you from hunching your neck and shoulders.
  • Elbow Room: Your elbows should stay close to your sides, with your forearms roughly parallel to the floor when using your keyboard and mouse.

Note: While these small adjustments may seem minor, they can make a world of difference in how your body feels at the end of a long workday. Said differently, less strain means less pain, and that translates to a better quality of life — on and off the job site.

2. Choose Ergonomic Equipment

Ergonomic keyboards and mice are designed to reduce strain on your hands and wrists. There are plenty of options, so find ones that feel comfortable and natural to use. A small upfront investment can save you from a large amount of discomfort down the road.

3. Get Supportive With Furniture

An adjustable chair is a strong start, but don’t stop there. If you’re frequently reaching overhead or bending down, consider a workstation that can be raised or lowered to keep you in a comfortable, neutral position. Footrests are another inexpensive way to improve posture and support your lower body.

For more on this, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today. Alternatively, please continue reading.

4. Mix Sitting And Standing

Even with perfect posture, staying in one position for long periods isn’t great for your body. An adjustable sit-stand desk is ideal. Aim tochange positions every (30) minutes or so, even if it’s just briefly standing up to stretch.

5. Don’t Strain Your Neck For Phone Calls

If you find yourself taking calls frequently and for extended periods of time, you should consider switching to a headset. Cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder is a recipe for neck and shoulder pain, which can shorten your ability to perform even a simple task like talking on the phone.

6. Take Your Breaks Seriously

Breaks are a crucial preventative measure. Step away from your work area every hour or so. Even a two-minute break to rest your eyes and shake out your hands helps reduce the buildup of tension and strain.

7. Make Stretching Part Of Your Routine

Stretching your neck, back, shoulders, wrists, and hands helps relieve tightness and improves flexibility. Do simple stretches on breaks or even while you’re waiting for something to load on your computer. A physical therapist can recommend specific stretches targeted to your work activities.

8. Sneak In Short Walks

Get your steps in. A quick walk around the job site gets your blood flowing and gives your body a break from static positions. Even just walking to refill your water bottle helps. As an added bonus, it’s a great way to clear your mind and refresh your focus for the tasks ahead!

9. Fuel Yourself With A Healthy Diet

Eating well strengthens your body and supports recovery. A healthy diet isn’t all about weight control. Eating right provides the nutrients your muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to function their best. Complementarily, it’s critically important that you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

For more helpful tips not listed herein, please call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 and speak with a member of our award-winning team now!

10. Don’t Ignore Any Early Warning Signs

Think of aches, tingling, or stiffness as your body’s way of telling you it needs a break. Don’t try to power through the pain. Address these issues early with rest, ice, and maybe even a visit to your healthcare provider or a physical therapist. Doing so can help catch an RSI before it becomes a major issue.

Even small changes add up. To this end, you should start with the tips that seem most manageable and build from there. Remember, staying committed to addressing the early symptoms outlined above can go a long way in preventing the onset of repetitive stress injuries down the line.

The Dangers Of Ignoring Repetitive Strain Injuries

You might be able to perform some or even all of your daily tasks with RSI, but sooner or later, it’s going to become a problem that requires medical attention. Ignoring those early warning signs of pain, numbness, or stiffness might buy you some time, but eventually, the problem may only get worse.

You may find that you can’t even drive a car or use utensils properly. The longer you wait to address an RSI, the harder it may be to treat and the more likely it is to cause lasting damage. 

Moreover, severe RSIs like carpal tunnel, rotator cuff injuries, or trigger finger don’t always get better on their own. Sometimes, surgery is the only option, and that means time away from work to recover.

In worst-case scenarios, RSIs can lead to permanent disability, forcing you out of a career you may have spent years building. We’re talking about major disruptions to your work and financial security, not to mention the emotional impact of not being able to do the job you love.

The bottom line is that prevention and early action are crucial. Don’t just try to “tough it out” — you need to prioritize your health and well-being by addressing any signs of repetitive strain injury promptly and appropriately.

What Should You Do If You Develop an RSI?

First, seek medical attention right away. Your doctor or physical therapist can diagnose an RSI and recommend the best course of action. Treatment varies depending on the nature and severity of your RSI, but options you might consider include but are not limited to:

  • Rest: Rest might mean temporarily reducing or stopping the activities that are causing pain.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can develop a customized exercise plan to strengthen and stretch the affected area and teach you better work habits to prevent re-injury.
  • Pain Relief Medication: Over-the-counter options like ibuprofen can help manage pain, but your healthcare provider might prescribe stronger medication in some cases.
  • Splints Or Braces: These help support and immobilize the affected area, allowing it to rest and heal.
  • Steroid Injections: In severe cases, these reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.

It’s important to note that even with treatment, some RSIs may never completely go away. However, following your doctor’s recommendations and making changes to your work habits can significantly improve your pain and functionality and protect your ability to keep doing the work you’re trained to do.

If your RSI is work-related, the seasoned legal team at Schwartzapfel Lawyers can help you get all the money and benefits you deserve. Call us now at 516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.

Suffering From RSI? Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers Right Away!

Preventing RSI isn’t overly complicated, but it is important. Correct posture, regular breaks, and an ergonomic workspace go a long way in keeping you pain-free and productive. RSI can have serious consequences, so protecting yourself is an investment in your well-being.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an RSI, please don’t hesitate to seek help. No matter your situation, the experienced attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are ready to fight — and win! — for you. Call us now at 516-342-2200 for the support you deserve.

Your future is too important to go unprotected. Don’t risk it, and don’t delay. Instead, act now and schedule your consultation, which will be free and may save you miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 516-342-2200 now!

Sources:

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI) | News-Medical

9 Things You Can Do to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | WebMD

Workstation Ergonomics: Take a Break! | HealthCentral

Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit – PMC | NCBI

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