When work can be a risky pain in the neck
|RSI is a work-related disorder that affects the neck, lower limb, lower back, legs, jaws, chest and vocal chords.|
If your work involves prolonged sitting or computer usage, be sure to take breaks at appropriate intervals. For, continuous sitting and poor office ergonomics can not only affect your eyes but also result in repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
RSI is a group of ‘overuse disorders' affecting muscles, tendons and nerves of the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders and hands.
Doctors say that if a person is finding it hard to move the neck after a hard day's work or gets shooting pain in fingers and hands frequently, he/she should seek immediate medical advice.
Arising as minor aches and pains or numbness, these injuries can progress to become crippling disorders that prevent people from leading normal lives. Symptoms of RSI include pain, burning, numbness, tingling, giddiness, stiffness, clumsiness, swelling, coldness, skin discolouration and a constant need to stretch or massage one's arms.
Deepak Sharan, consultant in orthopaedics, rehabilitation and ergonomics at RECOUP Neuromusculoskeletal Rehabilitation Centre, says early intervention is important in keeping these injuries from progressing to permanent disorders.
“Over 500 young IT/ITeS professionals in India have already lost their jobs because of advanced, neglected RSI,” he says.
Citing a study conducted by him, Dr. Sharan says 75 per cent of the 35,000 computer professionals surveyed from 2001 to 2009 suffered from this disorder.
“According to our study, while neck and upper back are affected because of RSI in 60 per cent of people, lower back is affected in nearly 40 per cent of people.”
He adds that in 20 per cent of those surveyed, the injury was a generalised disorder associated with constant pain and numbness.
Participants of the study were aged around 27 years. Most of those diagnosed with the disorder were males, especially those who worked out regularly.
It is not just computer professionals who are affected. According to Ashok Kumar Singhal, consultant neurologist at Apollo Hospital, anyone whose work involves prolonged sitting can get the disorder. “I have a patient who is a tabla player,” he says.
Apart from incorrect posture and prolonged sitting without breaks, other common causes of RSI include intense, repetitive work and mental stress at work or home, anxiety, depression and job dissatisfaction.
Both these doctors say they had diagnosed the disorder among teachers, journalists, RJs, dentists, nurses, surgeons, massage therapists, children and housewives too.
“All organisations, big and small, must invest in comprehensive ergonomic intervention programmes with both proactive (mandatory training on ergonomics, posture, individual workstation assessments and fitness sessions) and reactive (early onsite RSI therapy) elements,” Dr. Sharan suggests.
“Microbreaks of five seconds every five minutes and macrobreaks of two minutes every 30 minutes is a must,” he adds.
Source : thehindu dtd 23/04/2012