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Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a Workplace Injury?

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Carpal tunnel syndrome might be the best-known of all office health issues. So many people spend their days sitting at a computer and end up suffering from painful, frustrating aches and cramps. However, it is not always considered a work-related issue, so it is important to properly file your claim. After you file, your employer’s workers compensation claims managers are then tasked with accepting or declining the claim. They can either deny that the injury is work related or accept the claim as work-related. With some injuries the work-relatedness may be obvious, however with the symptoms of repetitive stress, causation and responsibility can be much more difficult.

Repetitive Stress Injuries Such As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Repetitive stress injuries are not caused by a one time event but rather an accumulation of repetitive motions. Carpal tunnel happens when too much pressure is placed on the median nerve of the wrist. As this pressure continues over time, it can cause pain, tingling, and numbness. It can be treated by rest and anti-inflammatory medications, but sometimes surgery is necessary. Sometimes the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome are permanent, so employers are hesitant to accept those claims.

Is It Actually A Workplace Injury?

Unfortunately, there are competing medical studies about whether carpal tunnel syndrome is only a repetitive stress injury. In fact, there may be several potential causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also related to hypothyroidism, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Work-relatedness and causation are determined on a case-by-case basis based upon the First Report of Injury, medical history, finding from the physical exam(s), other work and non-work activities and sometimes the review of other medical data in addition to the employee’s work tasks.

Having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Prior To Employment

Any time that medical records are examined for a benefits claim, there should be a check of the employee’s history. If they have had carpal tunnel previously, that may hurt a claim. However, if it is shown that the job tasks aggravated a previous injury or condition, then it can still be successful. The employer will thoroughly investigate the history of the employee before agreeing to any claim of carpal tunnel being a new injury.

Providing Notice of the Injury

In most cases, a worker must provide notice in the form of a First Report of Injury to their employer regarding a work-related injury within a required period of time. However with repetitive stress injuries, this can be difficult since it is hard to know the actual date of injury. With these injuries, the last day the employee is at work can be considered the date of injury, since it is essentially the time the worker could no longer function at their job.

 

If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.

Sleep Deficiency 101: Make Sure To Get Your Z’s

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There are too many people out there who do not realize how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Sixty years ago, the average american slept 7-8 hours a night. Now, 6 hours is the average. Sleep disorders are on the rise, which means workplace accidents related to insomnia and fatigue are on the rise as well. Shift work is also an issue, as those workers claim to be sleeping as little as 4 hours a day. Here is some more information about sleep and sleep deficiency that will inspire you to hit the hay a little earlier tonight.

Why Are We Sleeping Less?

There are a few reasons why we are sleeping less on average than in the past. Our work and home lives have drastically changed, making getting a quality sleep harder than ever. For one, Americans are working longer hours than in the past, which means there is less time outside of work to do the things we want and need to do, like spend time with family. Plus, we are constantly connected through our smartphones and devices, which means that some of us are never really “off” work, since we can be contacted at any time. This also means we are trying to fall asleep after essentially shining a beam of light into our faces right before bedtime.

Consequences

First of all, not getting enough sleep can be dangerous. Workplace accidents increase when workers are not properly rested. Every year, people are killed because they are fatigued at work. Employers lose up to $92 billion every year in lost productivity from tired employees.

How To Get More Sleep

There are several things an employer and employee can do to try to get more sleep. Employers should create an environment that values and encourages rest, such as having a nap room and encouraging staff to unplug after work hours. Employees should make sure they are getting to bed at a consistent time each night, and to try to do something other than stare at their phone before trying to sleep.

If everyone were to get more sleep, workplaces would be much safer, and would probably provide employees with a less cranky environment, too.

If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.

A Helpful Guide to Vaccines

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Over the pest several decades, vaccines have dramatically decreased the number of cases of many diseases and saved millions of lives. Nowadays, many formerly deadly diseases have been almost completely eradicated. Getting vaccinated has become a vital part of maintaining your health. However, many adults do not get their booster shots after a certain age. Here are some reasons why you should vaccinate.

Protection Against Disease

Vaccines work by putting inactive viruses or bacteria into your immune system. That way your immune system can get used to them and be able to recognize them and fight them later. If it recognizes a threat it can defeat it because it will learn how to fight it.

Protect Others

Of course vaccines will help you protect yourself. However, getting vaccinated will also help protect others. There are people out there who, for medical reasons or otherwise, are not able to fight off diseases or get vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you may pass a disease onto those who are immunocompromised and they can become seriously ill.

No Missed Time

Even if you get through a disease without any permanent damage, you may miss some things that you did not want to. Missing work at an inopportune time can cause you stress and anxiety. Or, you may miss important family or social events because you are sick.

What Might You Need?

Depending on a variety of factors, such as your age and your history of vaccinations, you might need to get a booster of some vaccines. When you are 16, you should get a meningitis vaccine. You should also get MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), pneumonia protection, and varicella boosters. Getting a tetanus shot should be done every 10 years. Check with your doctor to find out what you might need.

Flu Shot

It is always a good idea to get a flu shot every year. Each year the formula is changed to better fight against the strain of flu that is expected to be prominent that year. The best time to get it is before the flu season. If you are an older adult over the age of 65 you should get a pneumonia vaccine as well.

Getting vaccinated will help keep you, and your community, as healthy as possible. Consult your healthcare provider today.

If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.

Related Information:

5 Tips to Manage Stress at Work

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You can’t escape stress. Whether you are at work, or planning a fun event, or raising kids, there are things that can cause anxiety in just about any situation. The only thing we can do is try to manage our stress and anxiety to prevent the situation from feeling worse. Here are some strategies to help with this.

Self-Care
Make sure to take care of yourself as best as possible. That means getting the proper amount of sleep on a nightly basis. Screens, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops can affect your sleep as well. If you have trouble sleeping, then it might be best to consult a doctor. Also, eating healthier can help too. Being prepared with healthy snacks at work means you will be less likely to eat unhealthy junk food.

Take Breaks
Sitting at your desk for long periods of time can affect your posture and cause you pain and discomfort. It can also have a negative effect on your heart. Moving around can help with stress, so make sure to get up and walk around. You can also sit quietly and breathe for a while to help settle yourself down.

Go Easy On The Caffeine
Coffee is a big part of the day for a lot of people. It is a great reason to take a break, and it can give a boost in the morning when you might be a little groggy. However, too much caffeine can cause high blood pressure and other issues. High blood pressure can trigger symptoms of stress, and will also make it harder for you to manage stress.

Attitude Is Everything
Attitude can sometimes make all the difference in how you handle stress. Keeping positive, even when it seems like everything is going wrong can help you reduce stress. There can still be conflicts, but taking time to calm down and staying positive will help.

Take Some Time Away
It is vital to take some time away from your job every once in awhile to decompress and have a break. There are people who think taking too much time will make them seem lazy and not dedicated. However, the fact is that taking time off will allow you to be more productive when you return.

You will never be able to eliminate stress, but these tips can help you manage it.

If you are a Minnesota worker who has been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Occupational Health online, by phone or by visiting one of our Twin Cities locations. Our staff of physicians, many of whom are board certified in occupational medicine, offer years of experience and understanding in addressing work injuries.

What Employers Need to Know About Worker Fatigue

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Numerous circumstances including insufficient, interrupted or poor quality sleep over a period of time can result in worker fatigue. Fatigue is our body’s indicator that we need more rest. Long work hours and lengthy and fluctuating shifts can be very demanding on our bodies and minds. The body runs on a circadian rhythm sleep-wake cycle. Most people sleep best during the night. Changes in time zones, seasonal time changes and alternating work schedules can disturb the body’s natural cycle, resulting in fatigue and a lack of mental awareness.

Working prolonged shifts can also increase the effects of noise and other environmental challenges.

What Employee Population Does This Impact?

Erratic and prolonged shifts are widespread among transportation workers, first responders, emergency workers, military personnel, construction workers, hospitality workers and many others. Fatigue can cause exhaustion, irritability, reduced attentiveness, and more issues that can result in problems in the workplace. Numerous studies have shown that fatigue can be associated with health complications in certain people.

9 of the Most Common OSHA Fines

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Many construction businesses make the choice to not have a dedicated safety initiative, since they feel that they are too small for one. However, no matter the size of the company, it can still be cited for safety violations, which can cost a pretty penny. Safety isn’t just about following the law, however. It is about protecting your employees. Here are the most common OSHA fines.

Training

All too often, employees are thrown into a position without the proper training. This happens especially in smaller companies where they may not have the personnel dedicated to training. It’s vital to allot time for safety training, no matter how large your company is. Spending time on training can save lost man-hours later.

Hazard Communications

All hazardous materials on site should be listed and displayed in a prominent spot. As well, all employees should be fully trained in how to use these materials, and data sheets on the material safety should be available as well.

Head Safety

Hard hats must be worn on a job site, as objects can easily fall from heights and cause serious injury. Workers are at risk for walking into support beams or other hazards.

Improperly Designed Wiring

Wiring that is installed or designed incorrectly can be a major cause of accidents. Make sure that all wiring is up to code, and that the proper equipment is used for handling electrical wiring.

Ladder Safety

Ladders must be in good working order, and not bent or missing rungs. Work should not be done while on a ladder. It should only be used for getting to certain heights.

Aerial Lifts

Only those who are properly trained and qualified should be using aerial lifts. As well, all equipment should be properly inspected. Before lifting, everyone involved should meet and discuss a “lift plan” for what is going to happen during the lift.

Fall Protection

When working at heights, all equipment should be installed and used correctly, and only properly trained employees should be doing it. All employees should be trained around the dangers of working at heights.

Excavation Requirements

Before performing an excavation, you should have the right permits, have a plan for egress, and plan to inspect the excavation site daily.

Ongoing Training

There should be regular safety meetings to provide extra training as well as to discuss safety issues. This can involve discussing new equipment, hazardous materials, or any other safety-related topic that needs discussing.

Construction job sites are dangerous places to be, and there are many ways to be found in violation of the OSHA. Make sure your site is up to code.

A Guide to the OSHA’s Health and Safety Standards

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The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has the authority, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to regulate the health and safety of workplaces. This includes developing standards and rules, providing consultation and education to employers and the enforcement of those standards.

OSHA is responsible for occupational health and safety rules relate to injury prevention in many ways. Examples include personal protective equipment, machine safety guards, lock-out tag-out working, safety harnessing, etc. Other regulations seek to maintain safe and healthy work environments by the monitoring of factors such as noise, airborne particulate and chemical contact (silica, asbestos, solvents, pesticides, etc.). Virtually all industries are affected by OSHA rules and enforcement including the construction, manufacturing, maritime, and agriculture industries, among others.

OSHA standards are intended to help employers protect workers from a vast array of potential risks. Minnesota Occupational Health (MOH) develops, sponsors and hosts workshops on a variety of occupational health and safety topics.

Minnesota Occupational Health provides a wide array of preventative testing and medical surveillance to employers and their workers, in addition to non-life-threatening injury care for work-related injuries. Common utilized MOH services involve both baseline and periodic surveillance for respirator use, special color vision testing, audiograms for establishing baseline and comparative hearing thresholds, as well as blood levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and others. MOH’s Eagan clinic is NIOSH certified to perform Coal Worker X-ray surveillance.

In the event of a work injury, all three MOH clinics provide urgent care services including suturing of open wounds, sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures as well as chemical and thermal burns. Injured workers are treated promptly on a walk-in basis and employers receive prompt communications as to the expected course of treatment and any specific light duty restrictions that would help the workers remain safe and productive while recovering.

To learn more about these services please contact MOH at (651) 968-5300 or at contact@mohonline.com.

Stress Electrocardiogram (EKG) or CT HeartScan Tests for Firefighters

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It is an unfortunate fact that heart disease causes a large number of firefighter deaths in the line of duty. It is important to identify firefighters who are at risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke before they are exposed to the harsh and challenging conditions of firefighting.

At Minnesota Occupational Health, our physicians may recommend a resting electrocardiogram (EKG), an Exercise Stress test or a CT Heartscan for a firefighter on a pre-employment and/or a periodic follow-up basis. These tests along with identifying other cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, smoking, fitness, age, heredity and others, can offer insights into cardiovascular health and health conditions that could lead to a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.

An Exercise Stress Test may be able to identify:

  • The presence of significant coronary artery disease
  • Blood pressure response to exercise
  • Abnormalities with your heart’s electrical activity
  • Fitness level

A CT Heartscan uses computerized tomography to identify, measure and evaluate calcium within the coronary arteries that could lead to blockages.

Minnesota Occupational Health offers customized physical exams and medical surveillance tests and partners with key cardiology groups to perform and help evaluate heart disease in high risk professions such as firefighting.

What are the Responsibilities of a Medical Review Officer?

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A Medical Review Officer (MRO) plays a pivotal role in helping employers ensure a safe workplace. An MRO is a licensed physician who reviews non-negative drug tests, determines if the presence of a tested substance is the result of legal usage and reports results directly to employers. An MRO may serve as an expert witness in contested cases as well. In addition, MRO’s provide expert guidance and training to collectors and often deliver Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors to employers, a program MOH sponsors several times each year. MRO’s may also manage federal random drug testing consortiums to meet requirements established by Federal Motor Carriers, Pipeline, FAA, Federal Railroad, US Coast Guard, Federal Transportation agencies and others.

Medical Review Officer Services

MN Occupational Health provides both non-regulated MRO services (with Dr. Vijay Eyunni) and federally regulated MRO services including random testing programs through Advanced Drug Testing.

Who Benefits from Occ Med?

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Today’s employers are charged with managing risk and related expenses while still fulfilling their commitments to their customers and employees. A growing number of employers realize the advantages of partnering with occupational medicine clinics. Minnesota Occupational Health provides the complete range of urgent care services including imaging, suturing, eye and burn care as well as a referral source to specialty care such as advanced imaging, physical therapy and surgery.

The following are some of the major benefits of OCC Med clinics to both employees and employers:

If you happen to be involved in an accident at the workplace, it could lead to acute pain and anxiety. In such a scenario, you should seek immediate medical attention. Minnesota Occupational Health’s clinics provide crucial services that are designed to handle and treat work related injuries using an ideal approach. MOH Providers also determine and communicate a plan with the best course of action in terms of your treatment in order to return an injured worker to good health as soon as possible.

Another major benefit of partnering with Minnesota Occupational Health is our ability to create and report the proper documentation to insurers, QRC’s and employers including periodic work status reports so every stakeholder, from the patient to the insurer understands the needs and accommodations that may be required until Maximim Medical Improvement (MMI) is attained.

The Role of Occupational Health + Safety

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The terms occupational health and environmental medicine describe MN Occupational Health’s commitment to the health of workers through clinical care, prevention, disability management, research and education. For those within a work setting, these terms also aim to benefit the well-being, protection and overall daily work routines of both individuals and their employers. One of the goals of occupational health and environmental medicine is to identify and reduce or eliminate workplace hazards, whether physical or environmental.

A healthy workforce is critical to employers but in the end it is everyone’s goal that any given worker leaves their shift each day and retires at some point in the future without incurring long-term injury or illness.

If you would like to know more about the occupational health and environmental medicine practices of MOH, do not hesitate to contact us by calling 651-968-5300. Based in the Twin Cities, we provide professional occupational health & medicine services in Minnesota.

Ergonomics

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The goal of ergonomics is to create an environment in which workers interact safely and efficiently with equipment, machinery and work place surroundings. A poor worksite design will ultimately lead to tired, fatigued and frustrated workers, while a well-organized design results in better workplace dynamics, safe employees, and higher output. Ergonomics involves creating a work environment with the human factor being considered.

What are the benefits of ergonomics?

Ergonomics establishes a culture of safety. By implementing proven workplace ergonomics, a company can demonstrate that it is committed to promoting employee safety.

Ergonomics enhances productivity. When a company puts in place a plan to promote workplace ergonomic solutions, employees benefit by working in a job that provides opportunity for good posture and proper body mechanics, less work exertion, good reaching heights and less motion, thereby creating a more efficient and safe workstation.

Ergonomics minimizes expenditure. When employers and employees actively invest in creating ideal ergonomic factors, it minimizes risk and reduces costs associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) and/or cumulative trauma disorders (CTD’s). Ergonomic injuries or repetitive stress injuries tend to develop over the long-term and can cost thousands of dollars in treatment, all of which can be minimized or avoided by implementing safe, proven ergonomics. 

Ergonomics improves the quality of work. When operating in a safe, optimized environment workers can produce higher quality work based solely on their ability to take full advantage of their skills and talents without the fear of injury.

Ergonomics enhances employee engagement. Ergonomics enable companies to generate positive employee engagement. This in turn, boosts morale and minimizes turnover.

Minnesota Occupational Health offers services including workplace, work-station and job-task analyses. Occupational Therapists work with employers and insurers to minimize cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) and to guide workers and employers on how to adapt workers and their environment.

Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

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[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Degenerative disc disease and related conditions are some of the most common causes of low back and neck pain. Understanding these diseases is the first step toward effective treatment.
[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]The spine is an interdependent system of 34 vertebrae, more than 100 joints, 120 muscles, and 23 discs. Our discs are designed to provide cushioning between the vertebrae, and provide us with flexibility and range of motion. Unlike muscles, our discs have a minimal blood supply. When structures in our body are injured, blood supplies the healing nutrients and oxygen needed for repair and healing. This means that once a spinal disc is injured, it cannot repair itself the way our muscles can.

Affected discs may be located in the neck (cervical spine), middle of the spine (thoracic spine), or in the lower back (lumbar spine). Once we suffer an injury to a disc, it degenerates in three general stages that may occur over a period of 20 to 30 years:

  • Dysfunction caused by the pain of the injury.
  • A long phase of relative instability at the vertebral segment cushioned by the injured disc, causing intermittent back pain.
  • Re-stabilization of the injured disc accompanied by a decrease in episodes of back pain.

Demographic studies show that degenerative disc disease causes less back pain for elderly adults than it does for adults between the ages of 30 and 50. However, disc degeneration can lead to the onset of other spinal conditions that do cause back pain for elderly adults. These conditions include:

  • Spinal stenosis. This form of spinal degeneration can occur in the cervical or lumbar spine. It causes the spinal nerve roots to be compressed, and can cause tingling, weakness, or numbness—the symptoms of sciatica.
  • Osteoarthritis. This disease causes a breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints located in the back of the spine. The facet joints become inflamed, and back motion and flexibility decrease. Over time, bone spurs typically form on the facet joints in response to joint instability.
  • Spondylolisthesis. When the facet joints degenerate significantly, they can become mechanically ineffective, causing one vertebra to slip out of place, causing back pain and/or leg pain.

Depending on the diagnosis, Minnesota Occupational health physicians may refer patients to a specialist at Summit Orthopedics. Summit’s back specialists diagnose spinal problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, non-surgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, surgical options are discussed. Patients and their care team will determine the best course of action.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Tips to Protect Your Wrists

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Imagine what it would be like to perform your daily tasks without bending your wrists. Suddenly, everything from brushing your teeth to checking email takes on a whole new level of complexity. We spend almost all day using our wrists and hands, so it should come as no surprise that complaints about wrist pain are among the most common concerns physicians hear. Wrist complaints are not limited to office workers; wrist issues can affect the inactive as well as the active, and the moderately active people in between.

Wrist pain can be caused by a number of problems. Some arise suddenly, and others progress slowly over time. Repetitive stress injury is the result of using your wrist to do the same action over and over again, and is often seen in carpenters, musicians, postal workers, and athletes. Carpal tunnel syndrome, affecting the passageways conducting nerves and tendons through your wrists, is a problem faced by many professionals who work at a computer. Your wrist can also be injured in a fall or other trauma.

Related Information:

Prevention is always the best approach. We have a couple of suggestions to help you prevent wrist injury:

  • Give attention to ergonomics. If your desk and keyboard are positioned for the comfort of your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands, you’ll be less likely to develop a problem. An ergonomic keyboard and cushioned wrist supports can help.
  • Take regular breaks from your work to stretch your shoulders, neck, wrists and fingers.
  • Do wrist exercises twice a day.
  • Wear wrist guards if you rollerblade, snowboard or play football.
  • Build your bone strength. After 50, women need at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium, and other adults need about 1,000 milligrams. Strong bones will help prevent wrist fractures.
  • Safeguard your habits and your home to prevent falls. Falling onto an outstretched hand is the main cause of most trauma-related wrist injuries. You are less likely to lose your balance and fall if you are wearing sensible shoes, living in well-lit spaces, and have grab bars in the bathroom and handrails on the stairs.

If the unexpected happens and you do injure your wrist, it is important to seek a medical evaluation. Sometimes, a seemingly mild injury can mask a torn ligament or fracture. Only prompt diagnosis and treatment will prevent possible stiffness, pain, or unnecessary surgery later. By taking preventative measures now, and consulting with your physician if there is an injury, you are doing your part to protect your wrists and keep them healthy.

The Link Between Weight and Orthopedic Risks

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[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Excess weight contributes to a number of serious health problems. A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explores the impact of obesity on orthopedic health.[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_text]Maintaining your weight through a healthy diet and sensible exercise program is one of the most valuable preventative steps you can take to reduce your risk of health problems and preserve your quality of life. Excess weight and obesity have been linked to health issues from high blood pressure to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Because extra weight strains almost every organ in the body, it is no surprise that it can affect arthritic joints as well.

The November 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons includes a study that discusses the ramifications of obesity on orthopedic health:

  • Musculoskeletal and chronic pain. Adolescents with obesity report more musculoskeletal and chronic regional pain than their normal-weight peers. For the elderly, obesity nearly doubles the risk of chronic pain in soft tissues and joints.
  • Increased risk of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive “wear and tear” joint disease. Because each pound of body weight puts an additional four pounds of pressure on knees, excess weight increases the risk of damaging wear and tear on the joint. Losing as little as ten percent of your total body weight can reduce joint pain and decrease risk of developing arthritis in joints that are not already affected.
  • Higher incidence of musculoskeletal injury. Not only does extra weight increase joint wear and tear—it also makes injury more likely. People who are overweight are 15 percent more likely to sustain musculoskeletal injury, and people who are obese are 48 percent more likely to suffer orthopedic injuries. The odds of an injury are also higher for overweight and obese children.
  • Slower surgical recovery and higher risk of surgical complications. Although obese patients don’t face contra-indications for elective orthopedic surgery, they do risk possible complications that may compromise their surgical outcomes.

The simplest way to achieve a healthy weight is to eat less and move more. Taking these preventative steps now will help you optimize your quality of life later.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Ten Days To Improved Range Of Motion

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]If you have arthritis, you know that exercise is important for maintaining an active lifestyle. Try these helpful stretches, and you may see improved range of motion within 10 days.[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]The research is clear: Exercise is one of the most important things all of us can do to preserve our health. For patients with arthritis, exercise is a treatment as well as a preventative measure. A regime of appropriate stretches can help to improve range of motion and ease the stiffness and pain of arthritic joints.

Cold, snowy weather may restrict some exercise habits, but these stretches can easily be done at home. If you work through them slowly and stay within your own abilities, you can start to see joint mobility improvement before two weeks have gone by.

  • Neck exercises. We have two easy exercises to loosen neck muscles and relieve stress. Start in a sitting or standing position, and then roll your head around in large circles. Then, bend your head so that your left ear moves toward your left shoulder. When you’ve bent your head as far as you comfortably can, hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat on your right.
  • Loosen your shoulders. Sit or stand with your head erect, then shrug your shoulders up to 20 times. Afterwards, reach up with your arms and stretch as high as you comfortably can.
  • Limber up hands and wrists. As you sit at a table or relax on the couch, roll your hands around in circles to keep wrist joints loose. To address finger joints, make a fist and hold for a two-second count, and then stretch your fingers out as straight and wide as you can without straining for a four-second count. Repeat as often as you like, or at several different times during the day.
  • Gentle bends for your back. Take your time and concentrate on slow, fluid movements for these exercises. Standing with feet at shoulder length apart, try slow side bends on one side, then the other. Then, stand about two feet from a wall, facing away from it. Turning first to your left and then to your right, attempt to touch the wall with your hands. Begin by reaching for the wall at shoulder height. As you become more limber, attempt to touch the wall closer to waist level.
  • Stretch your hips. Sit in a chair with your back straight. Hold the seat of the chair with your hands to steady yourself, then straighten and lift first one leg, then the other. The higher you can raise your leg, the stronger the hip stretch will be. Try to repeat this stretch at least five times with each leg.
  • Care for your knees. Squats are a great way to strengthen knees, but if you need a simpler stretch to start, we have one for you. Sit in a chair, and bend one knee at a time, bringing it up and as close to your body as you comfortably can with your arms.
  • Ankle stretch. While seated, rotate your ankles in circles to coax away aches. Also try rocking your feet back and forth, first lifting your toes, and then rolling your foot forward so that your heels rise from the floor.

These exercises are designed to coax movement back into major joints, including your neck, back, hips, knees, and shoulders. When you feel ready, add walking to your routine to increase your benefits. Although these stretches are intended to improve joint motion within ten days, it’s important to begin within limits that are comfortable for you, and not to push yourself beyond your limits. If you have any concerns, consult your doctor before you begin.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Simple Habits for Shoulder Health

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]We have some simple tips anyone can follow to keep shoulder muscles strong and shoulder joints flexible.
[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]Quite often, you probably reach for an object on a high shelf, hold up a hair dryer at the perfect angle, scoop a toddler into the air, or swing a golf club without giving a thought to the shoulders that make these motions possible. Flexible shoulder joints contribute to your overall body strength and decrease the load that your bones, ligaments and joints have to bear.

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball-like head of your humerus (long bone of your upper arm) is twice the size of the shallow shoulder socket into which it fits, making the joint mobile, but unstable. Its movement and stability relies on the four muscles that make up your rotator cuff. Rotator cuff muscles originate on your shoulder blade and insert, or connect, as a tendon on the humerus in your upper arm. Ligaments in your shoulder and the rotator cuff muscles provide shoulder stability by holding the ball portion of the joint in the deepest, widest area of the socket.

Some repetitive motions increase rotator cuff stress and may lead to injury. Actions that make your shoulders more prone to injury include the overhead-throwing motions found in sports including baseball, football, tennis, volleyball, and competitive swimming, and in professions including construction, hair styling, and painting.

There are some simple steps you can take to avoid placing extra stress on your shoulders:

  • Pay attention to your posture. During sleep, lay either on your back or side.
  • When you sit, keep your head over your shoulders and keep your shoulders back.
  • Don’t carry a backpack or purse over just one shoulder.
  • Avoid working with your arms above shoulder level for very long. When possible, use a foot stool or ladder to lessen the strain on your shoulders.
  • Lift and carry objects close to your body. Try not to lift heavy loads with outstretched arms.
  • Take regular breaks from any activity you must repeat over and over again.
  • Keep your thumb up when you reach for something with your arm.

In addition to good habits, exercise to strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons of your shoulder joint benefits you two ways. Conditioned muscles help reduce shoulder injury and improve shoulder performance.

Exercises to stretch your shoulder include:

  • Stretching the back of your shoulder
  • Hand-up-your-back stretch
  • Wall stretches

Exercises to strengthen your shoulder include:

  • Internal and external rotation exercises
  • Wall push-ups
  • Arm reaches

With a little attention to habits and exercise, your shoulders will thank you.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Select A Mattress To Support Spine Health

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Spine issues can make it challenging to sleep soundly. We tell you how to select a mattress that will provide support for your spine, and a good night’s rest for you.[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]The mattress market is filled with promises of restful nights and luxurious comfort. But after you purchase your mattress and get it home, reality can be a little less dreamy.

For patients with back pain, choosing the right mattress is particularly important. We have a checklist of the key mattress components to look for when you are evaluating and comparing your options.

  • Mattress coils and springs. These are the components that provide back support. The coil wires come in different thicknesses; the lower the gauge number, the stiffer the wire and the more firm your mattress will be. A higher concentration of steel coils may indicate better quality. However, you should use your own judgment to decide how much firmness is comfortable to provide the support you need.
  • Mattress padding. The padding on top of the mattress may be made of polyurethane foam, puffed-up polyester, or cotton batting. Extensive padding tends to increase the comfort of the mattress, and often comes with a higher price tag—which you may decide is worth the extra cost.
  • Mattress foundations. The foundation or box spring provides another level of support, and is usually constructed of a wood or metal frame with springs. A wood frame may feel harder, and should be inspected for cracks and warping. The Better Sleep Council recommends purchasing your mattress and foundation as a set to preserve the mattress and maximize your comfort.
  • Foam mattresses. Unlike traditional mattresses, foam mattresses are constructed entirely of memory or latex foam, and come in various degrees of firmness. Both traditional and foam mattresses can give you the back support and comfort you need.

Although firmer generally is better, the mattress that’s best for you is the one that you feel supports you comfortably. The opportunity to sleep on the mattress you want before you buy (in a hotel or the home of someone you know) is ideal—but at least stretch out on the mattress models in the store. When you research your options, ask questions, carefully examine each mattress, and test several styles to determine which feels most comfortable for you. Then you’ll be better informed to select the option with the comfort and back support tailored to your needs.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Don’t Let Your Computer Hurt Your Posture

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Many of us spend our days in front of a computer. Minnesota Occupational Health ergonomist Sue Unger has some tips to help preserve good posture while we work.[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_text]Our digital age offers a wealth of opportunities to work in new ways in a global marketplace, but the technology that is great for business isn’t necessarily good for our posture. Days, weeks, and months spent slouched in front of a computer can strain our backs, necks, and wrists. Over time, the damage of poor posture adds up, and can eventually lead to strain or injury.

Minnesota Occupational Health (MOH) ergonomist Sue Unger has some suggestions to help us maintain good posture as we work at our computer, and prevent posture-based injuries in the future.

“There’s not a single solution for everyone,” Sue explains. “Age and other factors make each of us structurally unique. However, there are some general guidelines that everyone can follow to maintain good posture in front of a computer.”

  • Avoid slouching as you work by holding your spine upright and maintaining activation of your deep core muscles through your abdomen.
  • When you are seated, have your knees bent to approximately 90 degrees.
  • Be aware of your shoulders. Don’t elevate your shoulders and let them creep up toward your ears, and don’t let your shoulder blades roll forward.
  • Keep your head from coming forward into a “turtle head” position. You may not have the endurance to keep an absolutely straight line from spine through neck and head all day, but regularly check your posture and correct it so that you are sitting in more of a straight line.
  • Bend and hold your arms at around a 90-degree angle as you type.
  • Elevate your site line to your computer screen. The distance from eyes to screen should be comfortable (so you aren’t tempted to push your head forward) and you shouldn’t feel that you are straining to look up or down to see the screen. Your computer should be positioned at or slightly below eye level.

The chair you sit in as you work matters, but that doesn’t mean that sitting on a balance ball is your best bet. “A ball can help if used properly,” says Sue, “but just because you are sitting on a ball doesn’t mean you have excellent posture. If a ball helps you to activate the abdominals and the deepest layer of your core throughout the day, that can certainly be helpful. I teach people to be even more active in the process of posture.”

Finally, Sue recommends frequent breaks from your desk. Every 30 to 45 minutes, get up, move, stretch, and interrupt your static posture. “I treat a lot of people with injured or healing knees,” says Sue. “Sitting for a long period of time is not helpful for these people. When you feel like you are getting stiff or achy, it means you should change position. Do some stretches, push your shoulders back, get in a few small squats and knee bends. These are preventive measures that healthy people can take to stay strong and limber.”[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Choosing A Pillow For Spine Support

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]The right pillow can alleviate or prevent back and neck pain. We have tips to help you select the pillow that is just right for you.[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]There’s nothing like the perfect pillow to ensure a sound night’s sleep. Some of us are so attached to our pillows that we travel with them. In addition to being comfortable, the right pillow can also provide important support to the neck and spine by propping up the head, neck, and shoulders to keep your body in alignment and relieve pressure. For optimum support, there are some characteristics that you should look for when you select a pillow.

  • A design that keeps the spine in natural alignment. Our neck curves slightly forward to sustain the weight of our head. Our pillow should maintain this curve when we are in a resting position. If the pillow is too high, our neck may be bent abnormally forward when we sleep on our back, or too far to one side if we sleep on our side, causing muscle strain or obstructed breathing. The preferred pillow maintains a height of four to six inches.
  • A feeling of comfort. Personal preference plays a large part in the definition of a good pillow. When we are comfortable, it is easier to relax into sleep and wake well rested.
  • An adjustable shape that conforms to the body. Most of us adjust our position as we sleep, so it’s important to have a pillow composition that conforms to our unique shape, adjusting as we change position. For people who sleep on their back, the pillow should support the natural curvature of the cervical spine—some people find it helpful to sleep with a pillow under their knees as well. Those who sleep on their side need a slightly higher pillow that supports the spine in a straight and natural horizontal line, and helps to keep weight evenly distributed without pressure.

Remember that even the best pillows will eventually lose their firmness. When a pillow no longer supports your neck and spine, it should be replaced. A good pillow results in a good night’s sleep, and gives your spine gentle support to avoid strain or injury.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”http://mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Be Smart About Using Your Smart Device

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]A new study reveals that though a smartphone may make life easier, using it can be hard on your spine. We explain the research, and offer suggestions to help you use your smartphone safely.[/fusion_title][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_text]Texting and consulting our smartphones has become a way of life. Wherever we go, we see people walking along the street bent over their phone, or seated at coffee shops and cafes, phone in hand, busily texting and checking email. The convenience of instant connection via phone may be a boon to communication, but it is not necessarily a benefit to our spine’s health. The sight of people texting with their heads hunched forward and their shoulders drooping prompted a spinal and orthopedic surgeon in New York to investigate the impact of “texting posture” on our body. What he discovered may surprise you.

When we hold our head up in an erect position, we are placing about 10 to 12 pounds of pressure on our neck. However, as we tilt our head forward in the act of texting, the amount of pressure on our cervical spine increases dramatically. Tilting our head forward by 60 degrees—which is not an unusual texting position—can put as much as 60 pounds of pressure on our neck. Hunched texting postures are causing neck pain for some patients. Over time, these postures may lead to early wear and tear, degeneration of the cervical spine, and possibly surgery.

“Technology is part of our life,” says Dr. Nick Wills, a back, neck and spine specialist at Summit Orthopedics, and a member of the Minnesota Occupational Health Preferred Provider Network. “Patients shouldn’t see this study as discouraging the use of smart phones. But it is important to be aware of your posture as you use your smartphone to respond to a text, get directions, or locate a nearby lunch spot.”

If you are an avid smart phone user, consider doing the following exercises once or twice a day to improve your posture and develop better physical habits while you use your phone:

  • Remember that your eyes have a range of motion. Practice looking down at your smartphone without tilting your entire head down.
  • Keep your neck joints limber. Take a break during your day to move your head from side to side several times and touch your ear to your shoulder on both sides.
  • A little resistance will strengthen neck ligaments and muscles. Place your hands on your forehead to provide resistance as you push your head forward, then put your hands on the back of your head and try to push your head back.
  • Stretch your arms and torso. Extend your arms to your sides as shoulder height, and push your chest forward. For a bit of extra resistance, perform this stretch in a doorway. This stretch helps to strengthen the muscles your body depends on for good posture.

With awareness of your head’s position as you use your smart phone, and a few minutes of dedicated time every day to improve your posture, you can reap the benefits of technology without paying a price in neck pain over time.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Basic Anatomy of the Spine

By | Blog Article
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]Our spine holds up our head, shoulders, and upper body. It helps us to stand up straight, gives us the flexibility to bend and twist, and protects the spinal cord. It is divided into three segments: the c-shaped curve of the cervical spine in the neck, the reverse c-shaped curve of the thoracic spine in the chest, and the c-shaped curve of the lumbar spine in the lower back.

Five unique components work together to compose the spine and maintain its function.

  • Vertebrae: These are the bones stacked from the lumbar through the cervical spine. They vary in size, and create a canal that protects the spinal cord and supports the body. The seven smallest vertebrae are in the cervical spine that begins at the base of the skull. Twelve larger vertebrae compose the thoracic spine and connect to the rib cage. The largest five vertebrae are in the lumbar spine, where they carry more of the body’s weight.
  • Spinal Cord: The spinal cord extends the entire length of the spine, traveling through the central canal in the middle of each stacked vertebra. Nerves branch out from the spinal cord through openings in the vertebrae to conduct messages between the brain and muscles. At the first and second lumbar vertebrae, the spinal cord continues as nerve roots that exit the spinal canal through vertebrae openings. Some form the sciatic nerves extending down into the legs.
  • Muscles and Ligaments: These tissues support and stabilize the spine and upper body. The ligaments connect the vertebrae, and hold the spinal column in place.
  • Intervertebral Discs: These flat round cushions sit between the vertebrae. They are supplied by nerve endings, and provide flexibility and strength. Because the discs are able to expand with movement, they allow for motion, and act as shock absorbers.
  • Facet Joints: These small joints at the back of the vertebrae have a cartilage surface, much like a knee or hip joint. These joints allow rotation of the spine, but may also develop arthritis, like any other joint.

When all of the components of the spine are healthy and working in concert, we can enjoy life with a full range of strong, flexible motion.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.7″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”https://www.mohonline.com/” linktarget=”_self” modal=”” button_size=”” button_shape=”” button_type=”” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Minnesota Occupational Health is the leading provider of occupational health services in the Upper Midwest. To learn more, please contact us.[/fusion_title][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]