For those of you who did make sure to stretch those muscles, good for you. Your future body thanks you.
Last time we talked about the basics of ergonomics and a few of the most common MSDs. Now we’re going to go over some others. I know we talked about the first two last time, but it seems wrong to talk about ergonomics and not at least mention sciatica and carpal tunnel, so bear with me. Let’s do it.
- Sciatica: This is the compression or inflammation of the nerve roots in the spine that form the sciatic nerve. Causes pain in the buttocks that can radiate down the back of your leg and into your foot. It’s a real pain in the butt. (Thank you, thank you, tip your waitresses.) As we mentioned last time, it’s caused by sitting for extended periods of time without changing positions. Make like the seventh inning and stretch!
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is a numbness, tingling, weakness, and discomfort in the wrists and hand. Caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist.
- Herniated Spinal Disk: A portion of a spinal disk bulges, “sticking out” into the neural canal. This puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Causes pain, numbness, or tingling into the arm or leg.
- Trigger Finger: A finger or fingers is locked in the bent position (think of what it looks like when pulling the trigger of a firearm). This is caused by a narrowing of the tendon sheath in the affected fingers. Usually associated with extended use of tools that have handles with hard or sharp edges.
- Tendonitis: The tendons become inflamed. Occurs when a muscles or tendon is repeatedly tensed from overuse of the wrist or shoulder.
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome: An inflammatory disorder of the musclotendinous cuff of the shoulder joint and/or the long head of the biceps and their associated bursae. Caused by working with the hands over the head repeatedly for long periods of time.
- Tension Neck Syndrome: Sort of a catch-all term for the neck pain and headaches that are caused by stress, poor posture, and work station position. Have you ever had someone call you a pain in the neck? Well, they could have been being literal. If you’re under a lot of stress, you might get actual pain in the neck.
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon: This is a fun one. The disease causes some areas of your body (particularly your fingers and toes) to feel numb or cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. Can also lead to some discoloration in the affected areas. Caused by repeated exposure to vibration for long periods of time, and aggravated by cold exposure.
- Epicondylitis: A painful condition that occurs when tendons become swollen in response to injury or repetitive use of the arm. You might have heard this referred to as “Tennis Elbow.”
- Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome: I bet you can’t guess what causes this, or what parts of the body it affects. Yep, it’s associated with excessive vibration directed into the hands and arms and can cause changes in the tendons, the bones, and the joints. Affects the nervous system. Symptoms can include: whitening of the fingers, tingling, loss of sensation, pain, cold sensations, loss of grip strength, bone cysts in the fingers and wrists.