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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trucking and the Risk of Repetitive Motion Injury

Cat stretching from a relaxed positionImage via Wikipedia

In the trucking industry I don't feel that enough attention or consideration is given to the fact that Truck Driving is almost all repetitive motion. When the FMCSA decides to write up and implement their new rules I doubt seriously that this is taken into account or there would be more attention taken into consideration for drivers ability to reduce the stress from this type of motion.
If you drive for a living and are lucky enough to be operating equipment with multiple seat adjustments, a multiple steering wheel adjustment, and arm rests always consider using them with keeping the best spinal alignment for good posture in mind.
Repetitive Motion Injuries are among the most common injuries in the United States. Repetitive motion injuries are wear-and-tear injuries that occur because of repetitive activities that we perform at work and at home. Repetitive motion injuries are caused when the soft tissue structures that are being used during the motion do not have time to repair and eventually become degenerated, torn, or stretched. Repetitive motion injuries are most common in fingers, wrists, elbows, arms and shoulders. Repetitive motion injuries are one of the fastest growing causes of lost time to business and industry, not to mention their impact on worker health and morale. Repetitive motion injuries are caused, not from a one-time event, but from years of repeating the same movement. Repetitive motion injuries are a multi-factorial problem and so are difficult to control there is no universal control measure that eliminates causes of repetitive motion injuries . Repetitive motion injuries are often tough to diagnose and treat.
Safety problems in work settings range from immediate threats like toxic substances and grievous bodily injuries to subtle, progressive dangers such as repetitive motion injuries, high noise levels, and air quality. Safety newsletters, workshops, posters, incentive programs and articles are key components in communicating effectively.
Trigger point therapy isn’t "too good to be true" — it’s just ordinary good. Trigger point therapy is not a miracle cure for chronic pain — but it’s close. Trigger points are not a flaky diagnosis. Trigger points routinely complicate most injuries and often begin to overshadow the original problem. Trigger points have many strange "features" and behaviours, and can easily be confused with many other problems. Trigger points might explain many odd aches and pains.
Ergonomics deals directly with the problem of work related musculoskeletal disorders, and this type of injury is one of the most prevalent lost time injuries in the country.Ergonomics is the science of matching tools and tasks to the work environment. Ergonomics is used to fit the person into his or her environment in order to prevent repetitive motion injuries . Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design that’s intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Ergonomics, also referred to as Human Factors Engineering, is the study of the interaction between people and their work. Ergonomics is the practice of designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. Ergonomics in the workplace aims to fit the job to the worker in an effort to limit strain on the body and thus reduce the risk for work related injury, especially musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomic injuries, including back and repetitive motion illnesses, account for more than half of all workers compensation claims.
OSHA, which developed an ergonomics standard that Congress revoked in 2001, has since that time released voluntary ergonomic guidelines for nursing homes and other sectors with high numbers of reported MSDs. OSHA says its rules would be limited to manufacturing and manual operations where workers use their limbs in repetitive motions. OSHA claims that federal ergonomic standards will save businesses money. OSHA's effectiveness in reducing industrial injury and illness has been debated since its earliest years.
Muscle tissue is incredibly powerful and complex, and like any finely-tuned machine, it breaks down easily. Muscle tissue, and its problems, simply has not gotten the clinical attention it deserves. Muscle tissue is the largest organ in the body, metabolically active and filled with nerves, the primary target of the wear and tear of daily activities, but it is the bones, joints, bursae and nerves on which physicians usually concentrate their attention. Strained cervical postures (eg, sitting in the drivers seat using you arms and legs in the same repetetive motion ) are common.
Symptoms of repetitive motion injuries develop over time and are subjective with the result that it is difficult to identify the cause and also the solution for the problem. Symptoms that are persistent and don't go away overnight may indicate a more serious problem. Symptoms include chronic aches, stiffness, sore muscles, decreased coordination, tingling or numbness especially upon waking, and trouble sleeping because of the pain. Symptoms that go away overnight are usually a sign of fatigue. Stretching is a good way to help increase your flexibility and reduce some of the physical effects of stress. Stretching the tendons and muscles can help reduce your risk of injury. Stretching is generally over-rated … but it might be good for trigger points. One of the worst problems I have is my lower back from all the sitting all day behind the wheel. This shortens the thigh muscles which helps to aggravate any back pain. If you take a short twenty minute walk to warm the muscles, then do some stretching exercises you will over a short time span begin to feel you back pain less and less.
Repetitive motion injuries are on the increase. Repetitive motion injuries are some of the most common, painful, soft tissue problems in the United States, making up over 50 percent of all athletic-related injuries seen by physicians. Repetitive motion injuries are easier to treat in their early stages. Repetitive motion injuries are the most common type of office injury, followed by back injuries and trips and falls. Repetitive motion injuries are one of the more frequent hazards of the modern workplace. Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by performing the same motion over and over again. Repetitive motion injuries can often be healed quickly if promptly reported. Ergonomic techniques have been recommended and successfully used to improve or correct workplaces that cause cumulative trauma disorders.
If you have the time between on duty and off duty shifts take the time to stretch go for a walk and do some basic calisthenics. This will save you from a lifetime of aches and pains, and help you to live a happier healthier life.

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