Occupational Overuse Syndrome: Are you at Risk?

A desk job worker may sit for 1920 hours a year! Not only can this reduce two years off a person’s life expectancy and increase your risk of death of any cause by 50% but it can also increase your likelihood of developing Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS). 2 out of 3 workers have reported experiencing discomfort and/or pain after working in an office. More than 60% of workplace illnesses reported each year are related to repetitive strain injuries.

Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) is a descriptive term used for conditions that are characterised by persistent pain or discomfort in muscles, nerves, tendons and other soft tissues caused by poor ergonomics, repetitive movements or sustained awkward postures. Repeated use of the same movement causes inflammation to these soft tissues. The first signs of OOS may be soreness, tingling, aching or shooting pain typically through the neck, shoulder, upper back, forearms and wrists. Symptoms may disappear when you stop the aggravating task, it may take a few hours or even a couple of days for the symptoms to settle. With inadequate treatment, these symptoms may lead to chronic injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medical epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow).

Workplace setup/design and work practices can play a major contributing factor to OOS. Risk factors can include; repetitive manual tasks, poor ergonomics, tools or equipment that don’t conform comfortably to the body, insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), exposure to vibrational forces, workspace design that requires repeated bending, twisting and outreached postures and tight deadlines that prevent works from taking adequate postural breaks.

There are preventative tools such as a Job Dictionary and Ergonomic Assessments that the Exercise Physiologists at Absolute Balance are able to conduct that will focus on meeting the physical critical demands of the worker’s job role with the clinical exercise rehabilitation. Other keys areas include workstation design, biomechanical principles, ergonomic equipment and ergonomic work-flow design. For more information on how the team of the Exercise Physiologists at Absolute Balance can assist you minimise the risk of developing OOS, please contact via info@absolutebalance.com.au

 

 daniel-n

Daniel Nguyen (B.Sc. Exercise Physiology)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP)(ESSAM)

 

 

References

  1. P S Helliwell, W. J. (2004). Repetitive strain injury. BMJ Journals, Volume 80, Issue 946.
  2. Gregory, V. (1998). Musculoskeletal Injuries: An Occupational Health and Safety issue in Sonography. Educational Supplement, 1-5.