Friday, August 1, 2008

Repetitive Strain Injury(RSI)

RSI is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of overuse disorders ( eg. computer, guitar or knife, or other activity that requires repeated movements) that affect the muscles, tendons, fascia, and neurovascular structures typically in the neck, back, and upper limbs, though virtually any part of the body including head, jaw, chest, eyes, and legs can get affected.
It is also called Computer Related Injury(CRI), Occupational overuse syndrome, or Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorder(WMSD).

Who are all in Risk groups?
Computer workers
Mechanical Tool workers
Teachers and sports persons....

Contributing factors

Work environment
The lighting in a workplace may be too dark or too bright for work task. This may result in employees assuming awkward postures to accomplish work tasks and a loss of product quality.
An employer should be aware of the amount of time in a workday that employees spend performing physically demanding or repetitive tasks. Both the total time per work shift and the length of uninterrupted periods of work can be significant in contributing to problems.
Awkward Postures
Posture affects which muscle groups are active during physical activity. Awkward postures can make work tasks more physically demanding by increasing the exertion required from smaller muscle groups and preventing the stronger, larger muscle groups from working at maximum efficiency.
Repetitive motions
In repetitive work the same types of motions are performed over and over again using the same muscles, tendons, or joints. The amount of repetition can be affected by the pace of work, the recovery time provided (i.e., number and length of breaks), and the amount of variety in work tasks. Forceful Exertions
Force is the amount of muscular effort expended to perform work. Exerting large amounts of force can result in fatigue and physical damage to the body.
Pressure points
Pressure points result from the body pressing against hard or sharp surfaces(e.g., resting the arm on arm rest while typing, and resting the wrist on hard surface). Breaks
For RSI rest and recovery is the most important factor. Flexibility is major factor for muscle tightness and other muscle injuries.

Discomfort, fatigue or pain.
Swelling, redness, coldness or warmth.
Stiffness, radiating pain, burning sensation, tingling, numbness.
Loss of grip, weakness, heaviness, headache

Physical therapy- Deep tissue massage, nerve mobilization, joint mobilization, stretching, hot/cold packs, free exercises.
Ergonomic modification of work place
Alexander technique

Self Help Measures:
sitting in correct and erect posture with back support while working.
maintaining good ergonomic principles.
Frequent Breaks- every 30-40minutes of work.
Regular stretching and free exercises.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Things You Should Know About Back Pain

  1. Back pain is as mystifying today as it was decades ago. Despite exellent tests and procedures, modern back specialists admit that up to 80% of all cases have no clear physiological cause. In fact, many pain-free people show bulging or herniated discs in X-rays.
  2. Also, despite everything we know about back pain, 90% of us are going to have a disabling episode at some point in our lives.
  3. It is difficult to predict which individual person will develop back pain. Strength, fitness, and back X-rays are not goot predictors. One major study concluded that the only predictors were 1) whether the person has had back pain before, 2) whether the person smokes cigarattes.
  4. On the other hand, job characteristics are predictors of back pain. Jobs with heavy or frequent lifting are high risk, as are jobs involving prolonged standing or sitting.
  5. There is little agreement on how to do lifting with little risk. Lifting with the legs is easy on the back, but hard on the legs and muscles. Lifting with the back puts strain on the discs but is less fatiguing.
  6. So-called 'back belts' have not proven to strengthen backs or prevent back problems. On one hand, they may help remind wearers to lift carefully. On the other hand, they may give wearers a false sense of greater strength, encouraging them to lift more than they should.
  7. People who sit for long periods are at risk for back disorders. The two greatest problems seem to be sitting upright or forward and not changing position.
  8. An upright posture with a ninety-degree hip position is unhealthy, from the perspective of the intervertebral discs. For a number of reasons, the discs experience more pressure and the pressure is more lopsided than while standing. So it's a good idea to sit with the hip joints somewhat straightened.
  9. All sitters should move around. in addition to helping the muscles relax and recover, this alternately squeezes and unsqueezes the intervertebral discs. Discs stay plumber and, in the long run, healthier.
  10. The most important chair adjustments are i) Seat height from the floor - the feet should be able to rest flat on the floor ii) Depth from the front of the seat to the back rest- sitters should be able to use the backrest without any pressure behind the knees. iii) Lumbar support height- every person is shaped differently.
  11. The 'properchair adjustments and chair posture are greatly influnced by the rest of the work area. In particular, the eyes can affect posture, especially if the work material is too far, low or high. Hand position can also affect body position, particularly the posture of the upper back and neck.
  12. Upper back and neck discomfort is often related to upward viewing angles or leaning, twisting, or reaching.
  13. For people with existing, chronic, difficult back pain: all the above rules are optional, because each back pain case is different. Rules for prevention of back pain or treatment of medium- level cases may be completely inappropriate for individual cases of severe back pain. Before accepting any advice, trust the "advice" of your own body's discomfort reactions.