Whether you've had carpal tunnel syndrome in the past and been treated by your chiropractor or whether you've just heard a lot about repetitive strain injuries from your family and coworkers, avoiding these types of injuries may be a big concern in your mind. And before you take steps to prevent a repetitive strain injury, you may want to assess how much risk you're in. Finding out what risk factors are associated with your situation can help you decide what actions can best counter the possibility of such an injury. Here are three warning signs that you may be at risk.
1. Work environment
Some evidence exists that carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries can be aggravated or worsened by a chilly environment. This may be bad news for you if your office always has the air conditioning on. Fortunately, you can help mitigate this effect by dressing warmly. It can be a challenge to protect your wrists against the cold, but using cute knitted wristwarmers or fingerless gloves may be an option as long as you're not in a situation where you need to look as professional as possible (such as an interview).
2. Repeated motions
Repeated motions are part of life for assembly line workers and tennis players, but anyone who works a desk job in an office is also at risk. Typing itself hasn't been shown to cause the injury, but doing it for long stretches of time may affect your wrists if your posture isn't correct. Invest in a lumber cushion to help you sit up straight and adjust the height of your chair so that you can't bend your wrists when you type. If long habit keeps you from good typing posture, try wearing wrist braces to support your wrists. This won't necessarily cure an existing problem, but it can help prevent further strain on your wrists and keep a potential problem from developing.
3. Awkward posture
As mentioned above, it's often the combination of wrist motions and an unusual positioning that cause the injury. This is why posture is so important while typing. Other jobs that may involve wrist motions in strange positions include sewing, milking cows, scrubbing, using hand tools, and even playing the violin. These encompass a wide range of careers. If you think any actions you perform frequently at your job may put you at risk, try to analyze your wrist posture the next time you perform that action. Can you do it while keeping your wrists straight? If it puts sideways pressure on your wrist, try using wrist braces to minimize the strain that your joints incur each time you perform the action. It's better to spend a few dollars on a brace now than hundreds of dollars on an emergency chiropractor visit.
These three factors are just a few of the lifestyle and work elements that may affect your chances of developing a strain injury. If you notice that any of your joints are starting to feel strained, speak to a local chiropractor (such as one from Burgman Chiropractic Clinic PC) about a customized treatment. You should also try to figure out what activity is causing the strain and how you can support that joint during that activity.