HOME Ergonomics Signs & Symptoms of Physical Distress

Signs & Symptoms of Physical Distress

Take Care of Yourself!

Working in awkward postures and often awkward static postures puts extra strain on your body. Leaning forward puts even more strain on your body – especially your neck and back muscles. The further you stick your head out in front of your body, the more work your muscles have to do to support your head. In fact, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned, "for every inch your head moves forwards, it effectively gains 10 pounds in weight". Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III, 2008.

Risk factors that can cause ergonomic injuries include repeated exposure to:

  • Awkward or sustained postures,
  • excessive force or strain,
  • contact pressure, vibration, heat or cold.

Ergonomic injuries are given many names:

  • Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs)
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs)
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
  • Cumulative Trauma Injuries (CTIs).

No matter what name they are called, they can impact your activities at work and home. Thus it is imperative that we protect ourselves by incorporating measures into our activities that include working in as neutral postures as possible, taking mini-breaks, and using good lifting techniques to keep healthy and safe.

Signs and symptoms of ergonomic injuries include:

  • pain which may be dull and aching, sharp and stabbing or a burning sensation
  • tingling or numbness; swelling, inflammation, stiffness
  • muscle weakness or discomfort; extremities turning white or cold
  • muscle tightness, cramping or discomfort; clumsiness or loss of coordination
  • decreased range of motion; or discomfort when making certain movements

It is important to listen to your body!

To help keep you safe from ergonomic injuries, pay attention to the signs and symptoms of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

Report any signs and symptoms to your supervisor. Early intervention is important!

Call Environmental Health & Safety at 434.982.4911 (or Employee Health & Safety at 434-924-2611 if you are a hospital employee) when you notice problems, have questions or want assistance.

Remember - you are really the only one who can take care of yourself!

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