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Many work-related injuries can be prevented

Ergonomics experts state that many employees are injured at work and commonly receive slight to severe pain because of their jobs. Arms, back, neck, shoulders and wrists are most commonly in pain due to work-related activities. Health care professionals believe individuals should seek care if pain persists for at least three days.

Physical therapists believe it is important to prevent these slight injuries from turning into chronic problems. Employers can help prevent slight injuries from becoming major problems by providing an ergonomically correct work environment.

Thankfully, most pain related to work duties can be treated with slight physical modifications when it is addressed during the first month. Waiting longer than four weeks to treat workplace pain can make treatment more difficult.

Some of the most common types of work-place injuries in the era of the keyboard are repetitive motion injuries. Fortunately, there are ways for employers and employees to guard against it. Almost 75 percent of keyboard related injuries are caused because the keyboard is placed too far from the body. A keyboard should be close enough so a worker can type while sitting up straight with their elbows at their sides and their forearms level to the ground.

Employees with both active and stationary work environments are susceptible to work-related injuries and pain. It is important to understand what is causing their pain and what can be done to prevent it. Most responsible employers have resources available to help employees adjust their work environments to reduce the likelihood of a workplace injury and employees should be encouraged to use these resources.

Source: The Des Moines Register, "Reasons to address work-related pain," Anne Carothers-Kay, 3/10/2011

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