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Repetitive strain injuries and the 'white collar slouch'

Repetitive strain injuries are the bane of the American workplace. While a lot of people think of office jobs as cushy positions, they can actually end up being hard on the human body -- which isn't really designed for sitting at a desk for hours on end and typing or writing.

If you work in an office, do you catch yourself slouching?

If so, you aren't alone. The modern "white collar slouch" has been a phenomenon that physicians have been despairing over since at least 1896 -- long before the modern day additions of desktop computers, home laptops, Gameboys and smartphones arrived on the scene to make people even slouchier.

Roughly 80 percent of the nation's workers are in a sedentary or light activity only position -- and poor posture is a problem that often results in injuries caused by repetitive strain.

How can you counteract the problem if you're working a desk job? Try these tips:

  • Ask your company to provide a hands-free headset for phone calls if you spend any significant time talking on the phone and using the computer at the same time. That keeps you from injuring your neck by holding your phone on your shoulder with your head.
  • Insist on an ergonomic chair that has sufficient back support and arm support to keep you from unnecessary strain.
  • Make sure that your chair is adjusted so that your arms are horizontal with the desktop.
  • Your monitor should be aligned so that your eyes are at the top of your screen.
  • Your feet should fit flat on the floor. If you are too short for that, request a footrest.

In addition, make sure that you take a break from sitting every half hour. Just a minute or two of stretching can not only help reduce strain on your back, shoulders, neck and wrists, but keep you more energized and focused.

Repetitive strain injuries are a common workplace safety issue. Anyone who suffers repetitive strain injuries from their job at work is entitled to workers' compensation benefits. If you're having trouble asserting your right to benefits, talk to an attorney today.

Source: The Sentinel, "Fitnees - exercises to reduce posture-related injuries," JennyAm, July 20, 2017

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