It’s easy to see the potential job hazards that exist for blue-collar workers. Among other things, these workers operate heavy machinery, use sharp tools, scale staggering heights, lift heavy weights, and move massive loads from place to place. Risks to white-collar workers might be more subtle, but they are just as real. Here are three health issues white-collar workers need to be aware of.
While a moderate amount of stress is healthy and can improve work performance, chronic stress is a serious health concern. When you are in a constant state of stress your body never gets a chance to recover from the fight-or-flight response that stress triggers. Your fight-or-flight response involves a racing pulse, shallow breathing, heightened mental awareness, a loosening of the bowels and bladder, and tingling extremities.
While this physiological response can be life-saving in a dangerous situation, it isn’t meant to be turned on all the time. Chronic stress can lead to headaches, fatigue, cardiovascular problems, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, and more.
Back and Neck Pain
It may seem like the most benign activity imaginable, but frequent sitting can cause serious health issues. For example, improper ergonomics at work leads to chronic back and neck pain. Your chair, screen height, and keyboard placement are vital for keeping your back and neck properly aligned.
Most office buildings take extra care with the ergonomics of their furniture. However, if you work from home you might have developed bad habits that could lead to long-term issues. Looking down at a screen is particularly dangerous. Working at a desk rather than on your couch can prevent neck pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when pressure is placed on the median nerve. The median nerve runs from your armpit to your wrist, where it enters through a space called the carpal tunnel and extends into your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling in your wrist, hand, and fingers. It may require prolonged rest, physical therapy, and even surgery to correct. Common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include repetitive typing on a keyboard and talking on the phone, both of which are typical of white-collar jobs.
You should think about common risks to white-collar workers so that you can take steps to prevent them. For example, you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by relaxing your forearm when you type, sitting up straight, taking regular breaks, and limiting mouse use. Additionally, proper ergonomics at your desk should keep you from developing back and neck pain. And learning stress management techniques could even save your life.
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