Did you know one of the ways we wind up with nerve- and tendon-related injuries is by working in an office? It may sound surprising, but without ergonomically-correct office furniture, accessories, and postures, something as simple as using a mouse or typing can cause serious injuries over time. Here are 5 common conditions that may be caused by your workspace:
No, you don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. Also known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is inflammation of the tendons that attach from the outside of the elbow to the muscles that bend the wrist and fingers upward. And surprisingly, this condition can be caused by movements we commonly engage in while working at a computer for an extended period of time, including repetitive use of a mouse and typing, as well as gripping and grasping pens or other tools.
You don’t have to play golf to get golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, either! This is inflammation of the tendons that attach from the inside of the elbow to the muscles that bend the wrist and fingers downward. This condition can be caused by repetitive use of a mouse, typing, gripping, and grasping, just like in tennis elbow. It can also be caused by too much sustained weight or pressure on the elbow, called contact stress. Chair arm rests are a common cause of contact stress.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel is another common office injury, often caused by a lot of typing with improper posture on a computer keyboard over an extended period of time. All of that repetitive motion irritates the median nerve in the wrist, causing inflammation.
A strain happens when either a muscle or the tendon that connects to the muscle to a bone is overstretched or torn. This can be caused by lifting heavy things, overuse or overextension, and exercise. Routine office tasks like reaching behind you to get documents from your printer or carrying heavy items like binders or boxes around the office can be the culprits of a back strain.
If you discover a painful lump on top of a joint or at the covering of a tendon, you may have a ganglion cyst. Most ganglion cysts appear at the wrist joint on the back of the hand. They can occur because of repetition, contact stress, or injuries. Proper alignment of the elbows, hands, wrists, and fingers while working is key to helping to prevent ganglion cysts.
If you find yourself with one of these conditions or any kind of other pain or discomfort, and you work in an office environment, consider whether your injury or pain may be caused, at least in part, by something in your workspace. If you’re not sure, reach out to an ergonomic consultant, who can help you evaluate your work area and how you use it and find possible solutions. And of course, always check with your doctor about any persistent issues. Click Here to learn more about the Ergonomic Consultations available through Benjamin Roberts.
Here’s to feeling better at work!