Repetitive stress injuries can impact people in myriad types of work. From physical labor to sitting at a computer, you use the same muscles in the same manner over and over for hours on end.
If you’re off of work healing from a repetitive stress injury, you likely are thinking about how you can prevent it from recurring. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take during your workday to give your muscles a rest. Actions like stretching, changing positions, adjusting your posture and switching to another task, if possible, for a time can all give your tender muscles the break they need to fully heal.
Another way to give your muscles a rest is something called “microbreaks.” These are 30-to-60-second breaks every 10 to 20 minutes where you focus on something different from the task you’re doing.
What should you do during a microbreak?
A good way to use your microbreak is to do some light stretching. Even if you aren’t able to leave your desk or the place where you’re standing, you can do some stretches that help your neck, back and legs.
Relaxing your eyes is also important, particularly if your job involves looking at a screen. It’s good to follow the “20/20/20 rule,” which involves spending 20 seconds looking at something that’s 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
If your job largely involves sitting, use these microbreaks to stand up or at least change your position. Move to a neutral posture where your feet are on the floor and your back is straight if you find that you tend to slump forward at your desk with your eyes just inches from your computer screen.
Why regular breaks are necessary
Of course, longer breaks are still necessary. A healthy musculoskeletal system requires rest. By taking regular breaks and using them to move your body in different ways, you can decrease your risk of injury and often do a better job than if you remained sedentary.
If you’ve suffered an injury while at work, it’s essential to get the treatment you need and to take the time off that’s necessary to recover. That means applying for the worker’s compensation benefits to which you’re entitled.