Preventing Repetitive Motion Injuries

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Preventing Repetitive Motion Injuries

by Cynthia Deaton

Workers Compensation claims can impact the overhead costs for your business. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one type of claim to be concerned about in the hair industry.

Repetitive motion injuries are a range of painful or uncomfortable conditions of the muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissues. Repetitive Motion Injuries or RMI are among the most common injuries seen by doctors in the United States and result in huge losses in terms of cost to the workforce. Simple everyday actions, such as writing, scrubbing a floor, or jogging, can lead to this condition.

Know the factors that increase the chances of developing RMI:

  • Movement repetition. Muscles get tired from performing the same movement over and over again. Muscles that are tense and overused are more likely to develop injury when combined with repetitive motions.
  • Improper posture. Poor posture when sitting or standing puts unnecessary pressure and strain on the muscles and nerves.
  • Excessive force. Overexerting when pushing, pulling, or lifting puts pressure on the muscles, bones, tendons, and nerves. This additional pressure causes discomfort, pain, and injury.
  • Frequency. When repetitive movements are done for prolonged periods, it leaves the muscles tense, tired, and more prone to injury due to wear and tear.

Understand that RMI may be caused by the following:

  • The repetitive motion of the limbs or joints.
  • Prolonged hand use.
  • Improper wrist position when performing an activity (holding a computer mouse, for example).
  • Some medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

Learn to identify the symptoms of RMI:

  • Pain or stiffness in areas around the joints (i.e. wrists, hands, fingers). This pain is usually worse with activity.
  • Swelling in the affected area.
  • Tingling or numbness.
  • Loss of strength and coordination (commonly happens to the hands).

Know how to prevent RMI. Do the following:

  • Exercise or stretch joints in between long hours of repetitive motion.
  • Take a break! This may be the most important way to prevent RMI. Rest your dominant hand whenever possible.
  • Maintain proper posture when working. Make adjustments to your work area and use ergonomically designed tools and accessories.
  • Exercise regularly. Strengthen your musculoskeletal system to lower the chances of injury from repetitive movements.

For more information regarding repetitive motion injuries and prevention tips, please contact Pinnacle’s safety team at