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Preventing Physical Stress and Injuries in the Workplace

I’ve seen it over and over again, from hair stylists to warehouse workers to mouse maestros, repetitive-use injuries and physical workplace stress impact most us or someone we know.  Unfortunately, workplace injuries can have a significant impact on both employees and businesses alike.  So, how can you prevent work injuries?

As a chiropractor, I am dedicated to promoting wellness for my patients and preventing injuries, including in the workplace. Below I explore some practical tips and techniques that can help you avoid workplace stresses and injuries.  By implementing these strategies, you can help maintain your physical well-being, improve productivity, and create a safer and, hopefully, happier work environment.

Ergonomic Workstation Setup to Prevent Work Injuries

A poorly designed workstation can contribute to sore muscles, achy joints, and overall chronic pain. You can set up your workstation ergonomically by adjusting their chair height, positioning the monitor at eye level, and keeping the keyboard and mouse within comfortable reach.  Think 90-degree angles-knees, hips/waist, elbows.  Ergonomic equipment, such as adjustable desks and supportive chairs with arm rests, can also make a significant difference in your comfort level during a long workday. Ergonomic assessments can be performed by trained professionals to help you with proper workstation setup.  Ask your employer for support.

Regular Stretching and Movement Breaks to Prevent Work Injuries

Most people roll their eyes when I suggest moving around (standing up and going to the water cooler, for example) every 20 minutes.  I know that sitting or standing in the same position for prolonged periods can lead to muscle stiffness, joint strain, and decreased circulation.  How many of you have swollen ankles at the end of the workday, whether you’re sitting or standing too long?

So, take regular stretching and movement breaks throughout the day. Simple stretching exercises targeting key muscle groups, such as neck, shoulders, back, and legs, can help alleviate tension and improve blood flow. Put that phone to good use.  Schedule short breaks or use reminder apps to encourage regular movement.

Proper Lifting Techniques to Prevent Work Injuries

Improper lifting is a common cause of workplace injuries and why some folks find themselves in my office. There is a correct way to lift heavy objects – bending the knees, keeping the back straight, and using leg and core muscles for support. Do not lift objects that exceed your physical capabilities and use assistive tools like dollies or carts when necessary.  Ask your employer to provide training sessions or demonstrations to reinforce these techniques.

Posture Awareness to Prevent Work Injuries

Maintaining good posture throughout the workday is crucial to prevent repetitive-use injuries. Be mindful of your posture, whether sitting or standing.  Sit up straight, align your ears with your shoulders, and avoid slouching or hunching over. Do not sit with your feet crossed, with more weight on one “cheek” vs the other, or leaning on one elbow.  Use ergonomic chairs with lumbar support. Additionally, don’t forget exercises and stretches to strengthen core muscles and improve posture.  You can work on these at home, too.

By implementing the tips and techniques discussed above, you can significantly reduce repetitive-use injuries and physical workplace stress and improve your overall well-being.

Dr. Kalaba is a chiropractor in Tucson, AZ, practicing gentle chiropractic care and providing health tips to help you live the best rest of your life.

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