Common Office Injuries

When most of us think about occupational hazards, we often overlook common office injuries. In actuality, quite a few workplace injuries can occur in office environments—from developing carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain to slips and falls. Some of the less obvious office work-related injuries can result in long-term consequences or permanently damaged health. It’s important for employees and employers alike to remain vigilant and maintain a safe work environment. Our blog post will help you learn about some of the most common office work injuries in the US as well as some ways to help reduce them.

Commuting Accidents

A commuting accident, in its simplest definition, refers to when an employee gets into a car accident commuting to or from their place of work. Despite the pandemic, the majority (over 70%) of Americans still regularly commute to work. Although many of us have incorporated our commutes into our daily routines, it is still important to drive as safely as possible and reduce the risks of being involved in a car accident.

Even minor car accidents can result in serious, long-term injuries, such as whiplash, bruising, cuts, neck pain, or brain trauma. We understand that most commuting accidents may not occur directly at the work site; nevertheless, we included it because it still plays a role in overall employee wellbeing. To learn more information about chiropractic care and car accidents, please read our other blog, Benefits of Chiropractic Care After Car Accidents.

Data About Work Injury Statistics

  • In 2020, an estimated 1.8 million employees sustained work injuries severe enough to require a visit to their local emergency department
  • 18% of those nonfatal work injuries were related to slipping, tripping, or falling.
  • Slipping, tripping, and falling remains one of the most common office work-related injuries, alongside exposure to hazardous substances.

Examples of Work-Related Accidents

  • Slipping and falling: Frequently reported as the most common office injury, falling can occur when a worker slips on a wet floor or trips over an electrical cord, loose carpeting, and other misplaced objects. These types of falls can cause a range of injuries, from light bruising to severe injuries such as broken bones, strained ligaments, spinal cord damage, and more.
  • Falling from heights: Falling can also occur when an employee falls down a ladder, stairwell, or another type of elevated height at their office job. Depending on the height, these types of falls can result in broken bones, spinal fractures, blood vessel rupture, traumatic brain injuries, or other types of serious damage.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help With Work-Related Injuries

Chiropractic adjustments provide a powerful, effective, and long-term solution for reducing pain. Instead of merely masking the symptoms, these treatments address the root source to provide long-standing relief—utilizing specific alignments, manipulations, exercises, and other holistic treatments tailored to each individual situation. Chiropractic can assist patients suffering from a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Herniated discs
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Spine misalignments
  • Strained, sprained, or spasming muscles

Overexertion Injuries at Work

Overexertion is one of the most common nonfatal injuries sustained in the workplace, only second to exposure to harmful substances. When one thinks of overexertion, an office work environment may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, many offices often contain storage units, boxes of products, and other company-related equipment that can still pose a potential occupational hazard.

Overexertion often results from excessive physical strain and can typically be associated with any of the following actions:

  • Bending
  • Carrying
  • Climbing
  • Crawling
  • Holding
  • Kneeling
  • Lifting
  • Pulling
  • Pushing
  • Reaching

Repetitive Motions

Similar to overexertion, repetitive movements at work can lead to injuries. Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, are a type of overexertion injury caused by motions being repeated for prolonged periods of time. Examples include typing at a computer, sitting in an abnormal posture for long periods of time, or other work tasks that require fine motor skills. Many workers in the US, including office employees, have experienced eye strain, aching wrists, joint stiffness, neck pain, back pain, pinched nerves, and even carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive motions.

In order to minimize repetitive motion injuries, many offices will accommodate their employees with supportive work equipment such as office chairs with back support, adjustable desks, adjustable screens, and hands-free headsets.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBI, can have unpredictable and often devastating effects on patients. Some of the most common workplace injuries, such as falling from heights, can result in a traumatic brain injury. Professionally-trained chiropractors can help patients reduce some of the effects of TBI through spinal adjustments, joint manipulation, and other non-invasive treatments.

Ways to Reduce Workplace Injuries at the Office

Here are six precautions office employees can take to reduce serious workplace injuries:

1. If a large portion of your job involves sitting at a desk, make sure your desks and computer screens are adjusted to a comfortable height. If possible, secure an office chair with a quality head and backrest.

2. If you know you need to hop on a longer video or phone call, use hands-free headsets or headphones to minimize straining your hand.

3. Try to take frequent, short breaks from stagnant positions every hour or so. A stagnant position can refer to any non-moving position, such as standing behind a workstation or sitting behind a desk. A short break can include standing up if you were previously sitting and a quick stretch of your arms and legs.

4. Whenever you need to lift something heavy, practice and train yourself to use safe lifting techniques. Use designated resources or equipment such as handcarts, if necessary.

5. Recognize your own strength, physical capabilities, and limitations—don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you need it. For example, if you are having difficulties with lifting a heavy object, it’s perfectly okay to ask your colleague(s) to lend you a hand.

6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of the workplace with routine exercise, a nutritious diet, and a healthy sleep cycle. A healthy lifestyle can not only help your body heal faster from injuries but also prevent some of them in the first place.

    Seeking Treatment for Your Office or Work-Related Injuries

    In spite of our best efforts to maintain a safe work environment, mistakes and accidents can still take place. If you sustain an injury at work or suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of overexertion, such as persistent headaches, nausea, numbness, stiffness, aching, swelling, or chronic pain, you should seek professional medical care as soon as possible. When it comes to health and well-being, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive.

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