In 2014, there were 2.8 million occupational injuries. This crossed all industries, but 75 percent were in those that provided a service.
These injuries can lead to time lost at work, decrease in production, depression, and temporary (or permanent) disability. These injuries can be caused by slip and fall, vehicle collisions, electrocution, struck by hazards, and caught in or between accidents. However, work related injury can also be caused by sitting at a desk or hunched over a computer for extended periods of time. Chiropractic has been shown to help workers who have been injured on the job, so they can return to work faster.
Common Occupational Injuries
Occupational injuries are vast and varied with a host of causes and many different symptoms. They can range from minor annoyances to significant damage that can lead to temporary or permanent disability. Some may require surgery while others require extended physical therapy, braces, and intensive medical treatments.
- Thoracic outlet syndrome – This injury is caused by flexing the shoulder, carrying loads on your shoulders, and extending your arms above shoulder height for a prolonged period of time. It is marked by swelling, pain, dull ache, weakness, or a burning sensation in the affected area.
- Elbow tendonitis (Epicondylitis) – This injury is caused by forceful or repeated forearm rotation while simultaneously bending the wrist. It is marked by swelling, dull ache, pain, burning, and weakness in the affected area.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – This injury can be caused by several things including vibratory tools, repetitive motion, and secondary factors. It is marked by numbness, pain, tingling, wasting of muscles at the thumb base, and burning.
- DeQuervain’s disease – This injury is caused by forceful gripping and repetitive hand twisting. It is marked by pain at the thumb base.
- Tendonitis/tenosynovitis – This injury is caused by sustained hyperextension of the knee, repetitive motion, and prolonged load overuse. It is marked by numbness, pain, and swelling in the hands.
- Back and neck pain – This injury can have a wide variety of causes from repetitive motion to accident to improper equipment. It is the most common work related injury.
Preventing Workplace Injuries
While a few work related injuries are unavoidable, many can be prevented with a little extra attention and care. The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following practices to reduce the risk of a workplace injury.
- Get regular exercise. This helps prevent back injuries by keeping your body strong, fit, and flexible.
- If you do desk work, get a chair that fits you. This means that there should be two inches between the backs of your knees and the front edge of the seat. Your knees should be level with your hips or slightly below, never higher.
- When doing computer work, use a foot rest for support and keep your knees between a 90 degree and 120-degree angle.
- If your job requires you to sit for extended periods of time, take breaks at least every two hours to walk and stretch.
- When you lift something heavy or awkward, don’t bend over to do it. Bend at your knees and hips, squatting as you pick up the object and let your legs do the work and keeping the object close to your body while your back remains straight. Do not let your body twist while you are trying to lift.
Of course, you should also follow all recommended and required safety guidelines for your workstation and place of employment.
Chiropractic for Workplace Injuries
Chiropractic care can help speed your recovery, improve your posture, and restore your mobility and strength. Through various chiropractic techniques, many of the occupational injuries listed here can be effectively treated. Chiropractic is a proven method for managing pain for the back and neck, but it has also been proven to be very beneficial for conditions like carpal tunnel, elbow tendonitis, and knee injuries.
Chiropractic’s whole body approach helps injured workers not only manage their pain and help heal their injury through adjustments, it can also help with soft tissue rehabilitation and other noninvasive therapies that improve range of motion. In short, chiropractic can help workers get back to work faster so less time is lost from work and the financial impact is greatly decreased.