Monday, February 18, 2008

10 Steps for Avoiding Repetitive Strain Pain

Tips for avoiding low back pain ...

"In November 2007, the National Athletic Trainers' Association published "10 Steps to Combat Low Back Pain". Causes of low back pain include the stressors of poor posture, unusual movement or activities, or even a sedentary lifestyle. This press release outlined a plan to prevent low back pain with a general conditioning, strengthening and healthy living program.

These same 10 steps can be just as important in combating the mechanical stressors and pain that occur from computer and desk work. By slightly modifying these steps, you can avoid the stresses that put you at risk for repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel and tendinitis. Here are the 10 steps with my adjustments and explanations made for the computer athlete.

* Identify Negative Stresses - Computer and desk-work related stressors often include a poor ergonomic set-up that leads to a forward head posture and rounded shoulders. These postures place tension on the nerves as they exit the cervical spine and tighten the chest muscles while weakening and stretching the back muscles. Learn more about ergonomics and efficient work postures at the computer and at your desk.

Perfect Posture - The Basics

* Make Yourself Mobile - Tight muscles can start pinching nerves and cause postural imbalance leading to muscular tension or "knots". Stretch the muscles that tend to tighten while working at the computer and at the desk. For computer workers, some of the most important muscles to stretch include the chest muscles (the pecs) and the forearm muscles (turning palm-up, stretching the wrist forward, and pulling the wrist back). Think of the position that you are in while at your computer and stretch frequently into the opposite direction.

* Increase Strength - Strengthening the core muscles and the back muscles can help promote postural balance and alleviate some of the problems often associated with forward head and rounded shoulder positioning.

* Perform 20 Minutes of Aerobic Exercise Daily- Aerobic activity increases the blood flow to muscles improving the oxygen flow and healing ability of the body's tissues. Aerobic activities improve muscular endurance and general cardiovascular fitness. Aerobic activity also increases the production of serotonin, the body's natural stress reliever.

* Pay Attention to Posture - Ergonomic adjustments to your computer and work stations will improve your posture and help you avoid muscular imbalances that can often lead to repetitive strain injuries.

Ergonomics - Improving Posture

* Sit Up Straight - Adjust the chair, the keyboard and mouse height and position, and the monitor height per ergonomic guidelines to improve comfort and reduce body stressors while working. (Modified from "Stand Up Straight" in the original article)."    (Continued via BellaOnline, Marji Hajic)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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