Computer Operator News

Part B: Computer-Related Injuries, Illnesses and Discomfort
April 2, 2016 – 09:49 am
The 911 operators section

The muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, cartilage and discs in the spine make up the musculoskeletal system. An injury or illness to these parts is called a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Some MSDs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, can affect nerves as well.

To understand these injuries, it is necessary to understand the structure and function of various parts of the body.

Muscles are tissues made up of very small fibers. Muscles contract and relax to make movement.

Tendons connect muscles to bones. Tendons are also made up of fibers, but these fibers do not stretch or shrink. The tendons transfer the force from the muscle to move the bone. Some tendons, like those in the wrist and hand, are covered with a sheath that contains a lubricating fluid. These tendons pass back and forth through the sheath as the muscles tighten or relax.

Ligaments connect bones to form a joint. Joints are covered by ligaments that form a joint capsule, which holds the ends of the bones together and allows movement. The joint also contains lubricating fluid. Some ligaments, such as those in the shoulder, elbow and knee are shielded from friction by a bursa, a small sac filled with fluid.

Nerves carry messages throughout the body — sending and receiving information to and from the brain. Nerves allow us to see and hear, and also feel pain.

This chapter covers the most common injuries that computer operators experience because of poor ergonomics at work. The symptoms and major risk factors are described for each disorder. Generally, the more time a worker is exposed to these risk factors, the greater the chance of developing one of these injuries.

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Carpal tunnel syndrome (also known as median neuritis) is a painful condition of the hands and wrists. It is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs from the shoulder, down the arm, to the hand. In advanced cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can make the simplest chore or activity impossible, such as holding a frying pan, folding laundry or lifting an infant.

Symptoms: In addition to pain, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness and tingling in the hands. These symptoms are usually felt in the first three fingers and the base of the thumb. Often the pain and other symptoms are worse at night or during sleep.

Source: www.afscme.org
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