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You may think that sitting at a desk in an office for nine hours a day doesn’t pose any risks to your health, but you’d be wrong. You may not be exposed to dangerous machinery or at risk for falling, but that doesn’t mean that your workplace doesn’t have hidden health pitfalls. Work-related illnesses and injuries can happen anywhere and anytime, even in a cubicle in an office building.
The most common ailments experienced by office workers include stress, headaches, back pain, and RSI (repetitive strain injury). Here are some tips to help you steer clear of these, often unforeseen, workplace conditions.
We all have stressful days at work. Perhaps you’re under pressure because of the workload or approaching deadlines. Maybe you’re struggling with your boss or have had a run-in with one of your colleagues. Work stress is common, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. If you’re worried about stress at work, speak to your employer. They may be able to help to resolve conflict or give you extra assistance with specific tasks. Outside of work, you can also try stress management techniques, like exercise and meditation. You’ll find more useful tips for tackling stress at http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/tips-to-control-stress.
Headaches are often related to dehydration, but they can also be caused by stress and staring at a screen for a long period of time. Trust me, I know this one all too well. Make sure you drink water throughout the day and periodically rest your eyes. If you’re straining to see the screen or to read small print, it may be time to get your eyes checked by your optometrist. It may also be helpful to ask your boss about eyecare software.
Another thing that can cause frequent headaches is environmental allergens, like dust, chemicals, perfumes, and dirty air vents. If you are concerned about any of these things, consult your boss immediately. Some offices can have toxic features and cause numerous health conditions.
Back Pain and Injury
Many cases of work-related back pain and injury can be linked to poor posture. If you’re sitting down for 8 to 9 hours a day, make sure you are comfortable and not in an awkward position. Your spine should be straight and your shoulders relaxed. Your screen should be positioned at eye level, and you should be able to reach the keyboard without stretching. Your employer should provide you with the proper equipment, such as height-adjustable desks and chairs to make sure you can work comfortably and safely. Regular stretching and periodic exercise can also be beneficial for conditioning your back. Activities like yoga are particularly good, as they improve your flexibility.
If you hurt your back at work, while doing your job, you have rights. This can be a legal matter that is your responsibility to report and get the help you need to process workman’s compensation claims. Even if your employer seems to be handling it well, you may want to consult an attorney who specializes in workplace injuries. Visit InjuryLawyer.com to find out more about your rights and how to go about getting compensated for an injury.
Repetitive strain injuries result from doing the same thing over and over again. Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis tend to be common among office and mail workers. This usually arises from typing or moving in the same way continually on a daily basis. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and a tingling sensation in the fingers. You can usually prevent these conditions by taking frequent stretch breaks. When I feel tension building in my wrists and arms, I massage them out with a cooling product like BioFreeze. Also, do consult your physician if symptoms get worse or don’t seem to get better with these strategies.
Ultimately, with all kinds of workplace injuries and health concerns, be proactive and ask for what you need to make things better for you. If you find that your employer is not cooperative, consider changing jobs. Your health and safety are more important than a paycheck that you can get somewhere else.
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your health care provider. Women’s lifelink, it’s owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.