Most office related injuries are caused by bad posture while working at a computer resulting in the early degradation of structures within the body. The majority of these injuries occur because we place our joints, tendons and muscles in positions that they cannot adapt to. Injury results in decreased productivity and increased stress to the individual. Here are the most common office injuries seen here at The Physiotherapy Place:
- Neck, shoulder and upper back pain and stiffness with, or without tension headaches
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Lower back pain and sciatica
Neck, shoulder and upper back pain/stiffness (with or without tension headaches) is a problem that affects almost everyone in an office environment at some time during the course of their careers. Eventually over time, a less than ideal posture leads to the stiffening of some of the joints of the spine, and the increased irritation of others that are forced to make up for the lack of movement in the stiff joints. This aggravation may lead to pressure being placed onto the nerve and thus radiation of pain into the upper back and possibly down the arms. A combination of increased muscular tension and joint irritation may also lead to tension headaches which wrap around the temporal region of the head and may end up with pain behind the eyes.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often misdiagnosed in medical circles. True carpal tunnel syndrome consists of decreased nerve conduction rates from one side of the carpal tunnel in the wrist to the other. This occurs when there is a narrowing of the carpal tunnel - a tunnel that nerves and tendons run through into the hand - resulting in a lack of space for the median nerve, which supplies a portion of the palm. The individual will experience pins and needles, possibly pain, and decreased dexterity in the affected hand. More often than not carpal tunnel syndrome is a ‘combination injury’ in which the nerve may have pressure applied to it at one or more points along its course. This commonly happens at the neck or shoulder so the full length of the nerve must be assessed so that no points of potential nerve entrapment are missed.
Tennis elbow is an injury to the extensor muscles on the top side of the forearm and elbow. These muscle tendon units become irritated when they are overused and thus start to tear themselves at a microscopic level within the tendons and/or muscle. This micro tearing leads to inflammation and scarring within the tendon on the outside of the elbow and if left untreated will progress into a chronic condition.
Lower back pain and sciatica are amongst the most common injuries that we see here at The Physiotherapy Place. Statistically speaking, all of us will at some point in our lives experience one or both of these problems. Lower back pain is likely to result from an injury to one or more of the following structures:
- the facet joints of the lower vertebrae of the spine,
- the disc that separates the vertebrae,
- the nerve as it leaves the spine, and/or
- the muscles and soft tissues surrounding these structures.
Often a combination of two or more structures are injured. With injury to the disc, a bulge may occur and directly put pressure on the nerve root exiting the spine at that level. This will ultimately lead to radiation (referral) of the pain and/or altered sensations down the leg along the pathway of that nerve root. Joint or muscular injuries are more commonly, but not always, felt closer to the point of injury resulting in the individual complaining of pain in the back.
How To Treat Your Office Injury
Treatment of office injuries is one of our specialties at The Physiotherapy Place. If you want to learn more or speak with an expert physiotherapist about your specific case, get in touch to arrange a FREE 15 minute telephone consultation.
For more tips and advice on dealing with back pain, you can download our FREE guides to fixing upper or lower back pain here: