Do you often need to make strange or awkward movements to get your work done? Long reaches, twists, bends and stretches put your shoulders, back and elbows in uncomfortable and unnatural positions. These postures can injure your nerves and even blood vessels that supply your muscle.
Merely reaching behind you or above your head can put your body out of alignment. Its normal alignment is the position where shoulders are straight and arms hang down with elbows close to your body. Awkward movement and static postures can add strain on your body. When you add lifting of heavy objects or performing repetitive motions, an injury becomes more likely.
Here are seven strategies for preventing musculoskeletal injuries:
- Practice good posture, with shoulders straight and arms and elbows close to the body.
- Move around routinely, taking frequent breaks if possible. Stretch, do a little exercise and relax your muscles.
- Use caution when lifting or moving objects. Instead of using your back to lift, bend at the knees. Perhaps most importantly, get help from others or use mechanical aids when lifting heavy objects.
- Reduce your own stress, since increased stress can increase blood pressure and add to circulatory damage.
- Know your body and listen to it. If you feel pain, take action to eliminate the source. Make sure that you treat the source so it does not lead to injury.
- Use adjustable working surfaces if possible, for an ergonomically correct position.
- If you work with vibrating equipment, use personal protective equipment or other strategies to protect hands and arms from excessive vibration.
REMEMBER! Avoid long-term pain and injury. Eat well, exercise and take steps to avoid awkward postures and reduce the effects of static positions.
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