Use, But Do Not Overuse!

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Going to work also seems to have its perils, if you do not exercise caution at work. The fact that you have a ‘desk job’ does not help you evade the tentacles of ‘Occupation Overuse Syndrome’ (OOS). In fact doctors are of the opinion that those with long hours of work in front of the computer/ laptop are more prone to developing OOS. This is a whole new brigade of diseases which is now finding its way especially in the working professionals in the IT-BT sector.

Occupational Overuse Syndrome is a collective term covering a range of disorders which cause pain and/or other sensations in muscles, tendons, nerves, soft tissues, and joints. This trend of emerging OOS amongst working professionals have concerned the doctors. Long hours of work comprising repetitive use of one part of the body often affects the muscles, tendons and ligaments in that area leading to pain, inflammation or compression in that area. This if not treated properly might have a long term impact on the affected area. So doctors advise seeking immediate help and ensuring preventive measures.

Though aches and pains in body are common, doctors reiterate on the need to watch out for prolonged pains. Inflammation or ache caused due to OOS at times might reduce if the activity causing it is reduced, but that does not happen always. Sometimes the pain gets reduced overnight or just by popping a painkiller, but doctors say that is not a solution. The need is to go to the root of the problem and work on the causative factors.

Causative factors of OOS:

  • Repetitive actions
  • Forceful movements
  • Sustained postures
  • Prolonged muscle tension
  • Cramped body posture for long hours
  • Work ambience, including workplace stress, politics and the like
  • OOS is often psycho-somatic, so the ambience at work and in personal life also have a role to play
  • Overall health and lifestyle also have an impact

Symptoms:

  • Prolonged pain
  • Tingling or numbness in affected area
  • Inflammation in affected area, usually hands or legs
  • Loss of strength or power to muscles
  • Burning sensation in affected area
  • Disturbed sleep

Preventive measures:

  • Do not overuse affected part of body
  • Listen to your body and stop when you feel pain/ numbness in affected part
  • Maintain good posture
  • Take small breaks at work to include some physical activity
  • If possible, go for an ergonomic workstation
  • Maintain healthy lifestyle including good diet, sleep pattern and physical activity
  • Indulge in a stress-busting hobby

Some of the disorders categorized under OOS include:

  • Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) often affecting hand due to excessive typing
  • Rotator cuff syndrome, inflammation of the tendons around the shoulder joint
  • Epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow
  • Tenosynovitis, inflammation of the wrist and tendon sheath

 

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