Overexertion continues to be a leading cause of injury over all age groups. It was the second leading reason, after falls, that adults age 25-64 ended up a hospital emergency department.
Overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries and is by far the largest contributor to workers’ compensation costs. It is also the number one reason for lost work days. No industry is exempt including government, education, health services, retail trade, manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, construction, wholesale, professional and business services.
Ergonomic injuries are disorders of the soft tissue, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs caused by:
- Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching
- Repetitive motion
- Working in awkward positions
- Sitting or standing for prolonged period of time
- Using excessive force
- Vibration, resting on sharp corners or edges
- Temperature extremes
Whether you become injured on an assembly line or typing on a computer ergonomic injury is cumulative. Symptoms can include everything from posture problems and intermittent discomfort to tendonitis, chronic pain and disability.
Overexertion can be Prevented
Regular exercise, stretching and strength training to maintain a strong core is beneficial in preventing injury.
Some additional tips:
- Plan a lift before you begin, keep your back straight and lift with your legs
- Limit the amount of time you spend doing the same motion over and over
- Take frequent breaks from any sustained position every 20-30 minutes
- If you work at a desk move frequently, use a footrest and adjust the height of your computer
- Report pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, tenderness, clicking or loss of strength to your doctor before it becomes a full-blown injury