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Office Ergonomics - Home Treatment

If you have a musculoskeletal injury such as back or neck strain or carpal tunnel syndrome, try home treatment for a few days when you first notice symptoms. These steps are usually helpful in relieving discomfort caused by stress and overuse. Home treatment includes:

  • Resting the painful area and avoiding or modifying activities that make your pain or discomfort worse. Return to some daily activities as soon as possible to help maintain flexibility and general well-being. Be aware of any tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain that may indicate an injury.
  • Using ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Place an ice pack or cold pack over the painful area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, as often as once an hour. This will help decrease any pain, muscle spasm, or swelling. You can try heat, or alternating heat and ice, after about 3 days or when there is no swelling.
  • Using nonprescription pain relievers. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can help relieve pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin (such as Bayer), ibuprofen (such as Advil), or naproxen (such as Aleve), can also help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. People younger than age 20 should not take aspirin because of the risk of Reye syndrome (a central nervous system complication in children).
  • Doing gentle stretching exercises to keep flexible and prevent stiffness. These exercises include:
  • Examining your workstation setup and workstation tools. Apply the ideas of ergonomics to make sure your workstation and tools fit you and the activity you are doing. Then try making changes that will limit any injury.
  • Keeping good health habits. Exercise regularly (including aerobic, muscle strengthening, and flexibility exercises), eat a balanced diet, don't smoke, get enough sleep, and lose weight if needed. If possible, reduce stress and tension at work and at home.

Home activities may contribute to workplace injury. For example, doing an activity at home that requires the same repetitive movements as at work may not allow your body time to recover. Also, driving long distances to and from work may contribute to workplace injury. Using special seat covers for added comfort (such as those made of wool or beads), carpooling, or using public transportation may help reduce this added stress.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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