What are the Most Frequent Computer-Related Workplace Injuries
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Most computer-related workplace injuries are caused by bad posture and inadequate workspace situations. Typical workplace computer-related injuries may include the following:
- Disc injuries
- Lumbar spine strains or sprains
- Mouse shoulder
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Computer back (also known as a posterior cervical dorsal syndrome)
This post will dig deeper into these various computer-related workplace injuries, help you learn to identify them and understand what you can do to prevent them.
Computer-Related Disc Injuries
Prolonged sitting and incorrect posture can sprain the outer fibers of your intervertebral discs, causing significant pain and discomfort. In advanced cases, soft inner materials within the nucleus of your disc can protrude through those fibers, causing what is known as a herniated disc. A herniated disc can cause severe pain in the back and legs, altered sensations in the legs and feet, trouble walking, and overall weakness.
Computer-Related Lumbar Spine Sprains or Strains
Lumbar sprains resulting from joint capsule and ligament tears, and lumbar strains, which are tears in the tendons or muscles, are common computer-related injuries among office workers. They are caused by high loads placed on a worker’s spine while seated at their desk. These strains and sprains often result in hip and back pain, muscle tightness, and swelling.
The prolonged elevation or bracing of one’s shoulder accommodating a computer mouse coupled with performing the typical short-range motions associated with mouse use can result in a syndrome commonly referred to as “mouse shoulder.” Mouse shoulder causes serious shoulder and arm pain and muscle spasms associated with the teres, deltoid, and trapezius muscles. Left untreated, mouse shoulder may become a rotator cuff injury.
Computer-Related Tennis Elbow
Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a type of repetitive strain injury, which means that it is caused by the repeated motion of a specific body part. Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis affecting the lateral extensor tendon of the elbow. It is one of the most common computer-related causes of forearm and elbow pain, ranging from mild to severe. It is aggravated by repeated grasping or excessive hand and finger motions. Pain from tennis elbow is also known to radiate up the arm and into the forearm.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When the median nerve, which passes through your wrist, becomes compressed, the result is a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is perhaps the most well-known and common computer-related workplace injury and is another form of repetitive stress or repetitive trauma injury.
Typical carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include the following:
- Paresthesias: Paresthesias refers to abnormal sensations, like tingling or numbness in your fingers.
- Night Pain: Carpal tunnel syndrome often causes victims to wake up in the middle of the night from hand pain or paresthesias.
- Hand Weakness: Carpal tunnel syndrome often causes issues with grasping items, a loss of strength between the thumb and index fingers, and difficulty with other thumb motions.
- Clumsiness: Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause awkward hand motions and increase the risk of dropping items.
Computer back is a condition that results from the excessive rearward curvature of the lower, middle, or upper back; a forward-drawn head placement; the rounding of the shoulders; and an excessive forward curvature of the upper neck. Computer back syndrome has several names, including posterior cervical-dorsal syndrome, student syndrome, or posterior cervical-dorsal syndrome. Computer back results from prolonged sitting in a workplace environment, particularly from a computer. The defects in posture that cause computer back have been associated with the following symptoms:
- muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, abdomen, back, hips, legs, and thighs
- strains or trigger points in the muscles
- joint dysfunction
- neck, rib, and back sprains
- increased loads on the spine’s intervertebral discs
- impaired breathing
The best way to prevent the condition is to adopt posture relief in 20-minute intervals.
Ways to Prevent Computer-Related Workplace Injuries
To prevent computer-related workplace injuries, workers should identify and address any abnormal stressors acting on the body while working.
Some ways you can do this include the following:
- Adopt a correct sitting posture, change your workspace arrangement, and regularly check that you are maintaining proper posture.
- Provide support to areas of your body that are easily compromised. For example, wrist supports and lumbar support pillows can help to prevent injuries.
- Never sit for too long. Every thirty minutes, at least, get up and move your body.
- Determine if work stress is altering your posture.
- Work a regular exercise program and fitness routine to keep muscles flexible and strong.
- Perform regular stretches.
- Regularly massage muscles to work out any kinks and relax them in a hot shower or bath following a long day at work.
Contact a Workplace Injury Attorney to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are considering a workers’ compensation claim related to computer-related injuries, you should seek the guidance and support of a New Jersey workers comp attorney with experience in computer-related injury cases. A workers comp attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve after suffering a computer-related office injury.
Call the team of professionals at Richard J. Hollowell at 1-800-681-3550 to get started today, or click here for a free case evaluation.