Enliven's Blog

Ergonomics & Rehabiltation

Office Ergonomics: Guidelines to Managers to Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury

Computers have improved the workplace in many marvelous ways – but they can be a real pain in the wrist. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) have become the leading cause of injury in office environments because many jobs are almost entirely computer based. We believe RSIs are preventable and the health and safety of all staff is a shared responsibility.

RSI prevention does not have to be difficult or complex. All you really need is the ability and the will to recognize, assess and control RSI hazards in the same way you would any other hazard in the workplace.

POINT TO REMEMBER:

If you have an effective health and safety program, you already have a good foundation for preventing RSI or Musculoskeletal Disorders ( MSDs).

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): The Enliven’s Approach

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) (also known as repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion injuries, repetitive motion disorder (RMD), cumulative trauma disorder (CT), occupational overuse syndrome, overuse syndrome, regional musculoskeletal disorder) is an injury of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression (pressing against hard surfaces), or sustained or awkward positions.

RSI is not a specific medical diagnosis, but rather a group of disorders. Many people mistakenly equate RSI with carpal tunnel syndrome, even though CTS is only one particular form of RSI. One recent study even reported that frequent computer users are no more likely to develop CTS than non-computer users. Don’t let this mislead you, though. Many other forms of RSI do come on as a result of frequent computer use.

Signs & Symptoms:

Do you experience:

  • Fatigue or lack of endurance?
  • Weakness in the hands or forearms?
  • Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation?
  • Heaviness: Do your hands feel like dead weight?
  • Clumsiness: Do you keep dropping things?
  • Lack of strength in your hands? Is it harder to open jars? Cut vegetables?
  • Lack of control or coordination?
  • Chronically cold hands?
  • Heightened awareness? Just being slightly more aware of a body part can be a clue that something is wrong.
  • Hypersensitivity?
  • Frequent self-massage (subconsciously)?
  • Sympathy pains? Do your hands hurt when someone else talks about their hand pain?

In addition to these symptoms, RSI can also lead to behavioural changes. You may not even be aware of these changes. For example, do you:

  • Avoid using the injured hand?
  • Use your non dominant hand more frequently?
  • Use your forearm, feet, or shoulder to open doors?
  • Avoid wearing or buying certain kinds of clothing because it is too difficult to put them on?
  • Change shopping habits because you can’t carry as much as he wants could?
  • Keep dropping things?
  • Find you can’t chop food?
  • Not play sports you once enjoyed?
  • Have trouble hooking bras or putting on jewelry?
  • Not wear bracelets because your wrists are tender?
  • Have trouble with keys or brushing teeth?
  • Feel overly protective of your hands?

We strongly believe that effectiveness of treatment will depends on the diagnosis and selection of treatment methods. We Enliven do complete Muculoskeletal Screening and Examination before we plan the treatment sessions.

The Enliven Approach:

Ergonomics & Posture Corrections:

Ergonomics is nothing but fitting the job to the persons need and comfort. In order to work efficiently the work place need to be organized based on the individual anthropometric measurements. E.g., If the person is short either we can reduce the table height or we go for accessory equipments like footrest.

Posture is all about how well is our spine. Good posture is when you are seated in such a way that the effort required to work at your computer is minimized.

The Basic posture for the computer users are:

  • Feet: flat on the floor
  • Knees: directly over feet, bent at right angles (or slightly greater), with a couple inches of space from the chair
  • Lower back: arched in, and possibly supported by your chair or a towel roll.
  • Upper back: naturally rounded
  • Shoulders, arms: relaxed, at side.
  • Neck: arched in, relaxed, supported by spine. Be careful not to hold tension in back or under chin.
  • Head: balancing gently on top of spine

Neuromuscular therapy (NMT):

NMT is a thorough program of recovery from acute and chronic pain syndromes which utilizes specific massage therapy, flexibility stretching, and home care to eliminate the causes of most neuromuscular pain patterns. This specific and scientific approach to muscular pain relief will help to bring about balance between the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. NMT enhances the function of joints, muscles and biomechanics (movement) and it releases endorphins, the body’s own natural pain killers. It can be part of a comprehensive program, complementing all other health care modalities.

The techniques includes:

  • Positional release therapy
  • Muscle Energy Techniques

Myotherapy:

Myotherapy is a ‘trigger point’ therapy. It involves pressing on small, constricted, sore points that trigger pain in areas away from the points. For example, a tense, painful know of muscles in the neck might cause pain in the head. In this case, myotherapy would involve pressing on the knotted neck muscles to decrease pain in the head.

Myofascial Release:

Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction and accompanying pain and restriction of motion. This is accomplished by relaxing contracted muscles, increasing circulation, increasing venous and lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fascia.

Physcial Methods:

Contrast Bath:

Contrast Bath therapy, also known as “Hot/Cold Immersion therapy” is a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in ice water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in warm water. The theory behind contrast bath therapy is that the warm water causes vasodilation of the blood flow in the limb or body followed by vasoconstriction. The effect is to pump out inflammation — although this has been called into question. Contrast bathing can be used to reduce swelling around injuries or to aid recovery from exercise.

Wax therapy:

Paraffin wax is now being used for aesthetic purposes.

However, that is not just the use of paraffin wax. Paraffin wax heat therapy is a very effective way of applying heat to soothe stiffness or pain in some parts of the body such as muscles and joints.

Interferential therapy:

The basic principle of Interferential Therapy (IFT) is to utilise the significant physiological effects of low frequency (@<250pps) electrical stimulation of nerves without the associated painful and somewhat unpleasant side effects sometimes associated with low frequency stimulation.

There are four main clinical applications for which IFT appears to be used:

  • Pain relief
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Increased local blood flow
  • Reduction of oedema

Taping & Splints:

Strapping and taping techniques are some of the most important and most effective methods in sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders. Strapping and taping techniques can help prevent injury as well as protect the person from re-injury whilst returning to work or sport.

Yoga:

Yoga, the Sanskrit word for “union”, is a practice that uses posture and breathing techniques to induce relaxation and improve strength, and its health benefits may surpass those of any other activity. Whether you practice yoga to relax, stretch, breathe, meditate, or simply because it’s in fashion, you may not realize the numerous health benefits of yoga.

Fitness Programs:

“If I told you that I had a formula that would help you live longer, avoid-and even cure-some diseases, relieve stress, and makes you stronger with virtually no bad side effects, you’d probably be willing to pay a lot of money for it…what if I told you it was free?…The truth is, I do have a formula like that…the formula is physical activity-simple exercise”. – David C. Neiman, Dr PH

If all of the benefits of exercise could be packaged in a single pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.
— DrNick.com

Our Fitness programs are designed on individual needs and their problems. The fitness programs includes free exercises, Stretches, Resistive band exercises, Fitness ball exercises and other weight training programs.

Our success stories on RSI treatment approach will updated soon on our website http://www.enliven.in

If you need to know more about RSI & our approach mail us on rsihelp@enliven.in or info@enliven.in


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Think Ergonomics! Think Enliven!!!

By definition Ergonomics is nothing but the consideration of human beings in the design of the man-made objects, facilities, and environments that people use in the various aspects of their lives. The primary aims of ergonomics Is to optimize the functioning of a system by adapting it to human capacities and needs. A stone-age human in an environment using a flint stone as a knife could modify the shape of the stone fitting the hand and task. Today, a product might be designed in one country, manufactured in the second country, purchased by a wholesaler (buyer) in the third country and used by a customer in the fourth country.

The scope of Ergonomics is extremely wide and is not limited to any particular industry or application. Ergonomics comes into everything which involves people. Work systems, sports and leisure, health and safety should all embody ergonomics principles if well designed. The aim of ergonomics is to enhance and preserve human health and satisfaction and to optimize the human performance in a system perspective.

BASIC ERGONOMIC DESIGN PHILOSOPHIES

There are three basic design philosophies utilized by ergonomists as they apply anthropometric data to design for their specific population (Tayyari and Smith, 1997). Those philosophies are:-

1. Design for the average: – The problem of designing for the average is that the design may end up fitting no one, because no one is average in all dimensions. However, the design for the average philosophies is utilized for designs involving public facilities, such as park benches, bus seats, and other facilities used by a large variety of people.

2. Design for extremes: – The problem of designing extremes is the cost associated with such design philosophies. Assuming that a car seat is designed to accommodate the smallest person, would it be feasible for the largest user to use the car?

3. Design for a range: – the most common design philosophy of the ergonomists is to design for a range of the population. Atypical range of the 5th to 95th percentile of the population is used. Such a design would be expected to accommodate 90% of the design population.

Seated or standing work?

As a general rule it is best to allow operators to choose between sitting and standing positions. However, there are situations when the requirements of a job mean that it is best to specify the working position.

When seated, we generally have a more stable body position. This means that where stability is important, it is better to be seated. Other situations where operators are better seated include those when foot controls are used frequently.

Standing is generally more fatiguing than sitting since the weight of the body has to be supported. Standing work may not be appropriate for all employees and investigation of alternative working methods may be required for pregnant workers or those with restriction in normal mobility.

Standing should be specified for situations when heavy loads or forces are used or bulky loads are handled. This is because, when sitting, the strong muscle groups of the lower body cannot be used to exert force, thereby increasing the risk of injury.

If workers have to move around the workplace quite often, a standing work position is preferable as frequent moves between sitting and standing are tiring.

How we do Ergonomics Workstation Assessments?

Four basic stages in conducting a EWA are:

  • selecting the job to be analyzed
  • breaking the job down into a sequence of tasks
  • identifying potential workplace contributing factors
  • determining preventive measures to overcome adverse effects of these workplace contributing factor

The method used in EWA is to actually observe a worker actually performing the job. The major advantages of this method include that it does not rely on individual memory and that the process prompts recognition of workplace contributing factors.

For infrequently performed or new jobs, observation may not be practical. With these, one approach is to have a group of experienced workers and supervisors complete the analysis through discussion. An advantage of this method is that more people are involved allowing for a wider base of experience and promoting a more ready acceptance of the resulting work procedure. Members of the joint ergonomics or occupational safety and health committee should participate in this process.

Initial benefits from developing a EWA will become clear in the preparation stage. The analysis process may identify previously undetected workplace contributing factors and increase the job knowledge of those participating. Ergonomics awareness is raised, communication between workers and supervisors is improved, and acceptance of safe work procedures is promoted.

The completed EWA, or better still, a written work procedure based on it, can form the basis for regular contact between supervisors and workers on ergonomics. It can serve as a teaching aid for initial job training and as a briefing guide for infrequent jobs. It may be used as a standard for ergonomics inspections or observations and it will assist in completing comprehensive accident and illness investigations.                                Contact For Ergo Analysis….

ERGONOMICS TRAINING:

An important part of an effective ergonomics program is training and education. For improvements to be effective, employees need to be trained thoroughly and given opportunities for hands-on practice with any new tools, equipment, or work procedures. The goals for training should include a mix of the knowledge and the skills needed to work safely. Employees should always be informed of any workplace changes.

A training program should include the following individuals:

  • All affected employees
  • Engineers and maintenance personnel
  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Health care providers

The program should be designed and implemented by qualified persons. Appropriate special training should be provided for personnel responsible for administering the program. The program should be presented in a language and at a level of understanding appropriate for the individuals being trained. It should provide an overview of the potential risk of illnesses and injuries, their causes and early symptoms, the means of prevention, and treatment.

The program should also include a means for adequately evaluating its effectiveness. This might be achieved by using employee interviews, testing, and observing work practices, to determine if those who received training understand the material and the work practices to be followed.

Training for affected employees should consist of both general and specific job training:

1. General Training: Employees who are potentially exposed to ergonomic hazards should be given formal instruction on the hazards associated with their jobs and with their equipment. This includes information on the varieties of CTDs, what risk factors cause or contribute to them, how to recognize and report symptoms, and how to prevent these disorders. This instruction should be repeated for each employee as necessary or at least annually.

2. Job Specific Training: New employees and reassigned employees should receive an initial orientation and hands on training prior to starting their duties. Each new hire should receive a demonstration of the proper use of and procedures for all tools and equipment. The initial training program should include the following:

  • Care, use, and handling techniques for tools and equipment they might use as part of their job
  • Use of special tools and equipment associated with individual work stations
  • Use of appropriate guards and safety equipment, including personal protective equipment
  • Use of proper lifting techniques and devices

On the job training should emphasize employee development and use of safe and efficient techniques.

3. Training for Supervisors: Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees follow safe work practices and receive appropriate training to enable them to do so. Supervisors therefore should undergo training comparable to that of the employees, and such additional training as will enable them to recognize early signs and symptoms of CTDs, to recognize hazardous work practices, to correct such practices, and to reinforce the employer’s ergonomic program, especially through ergonomic training of employees as may be needed.

4. Training for Managers: Managers should be aware of their safety and health responsibilities and should receive sufficient training pertaining to ergonomic issues at each work station and at the organizational level as a whole so that they can effectively carry out their responsibilities.

5. Training for Engineers and Maintenance Personnel: Plant engineers and maintenance personnel should be trained in the prevention and correction of ergonomic hazards through job and work station design and proper maintenance, both in general and as applied to the specific conditions of the facility.

To organize an Ergonomics training mail us info@enliven.in or  call us on 9880571431 or visit www.enliven.in

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About Enliven Rehabilitation Centre

Welcome to the Enliven Centre. We are based at Bangalore, India. We are specialized in Ergonomics, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation.

We provide holistic treatment approach the Repetitive Strain Injury, Sports Injuries, Neurological disorders.

We also provide Ergonomic training programs, Ergonomics Assessments to the offices/Industries/Biotech companies/ Laboratories.

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