Cumulative Trauma Disorders -CTDs
Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) are strains that may result from long-term repetitive
motion or from continually working in an awkward position. Strains commonly occur in the wrists, arms,
shoulders or back, affecting the body's joints and surrounding muscles and tendons.
CTDs affect all types of employees, from
computer operators to construction workers. It is common after developing a Cumulative Trauma Disorder that
repeat flare-ups occur more easily. When you start to notice the pain coming on, stop and listen to your
Suggestions For Reducing Your Exposure To
Do warm-up exercises before beginning physically
demanding tasks (take a tip from athletes).
Plan ahead, if you will be doing a job that is
awkward--think of ways to make it easier.
Rotate your work position, to change how muscles
are used during your work shift.
Use the proper tool for the job to avoid awkward
movements and the need for overexertion.
Take a rest break when fatigue sets in. Just a few
minutes can make a difference.
Carefully stretch tired or overworked muscles to
improve circulation and relieve tension.
When appropriate, use anti-shock or anti-vibration
gloves, back supports, wrist supports, or other personal protective equipment that helps prevent
Always use proper lifting techniques. Back strain
is one of the most common CTD's.
When using hand tools keep your wrists in a
"neutral" position, as opposed to repeatedly bending them up, down or sideways during work tasks.
Just because a co-worker is not affected by a
physically demanding task, don't ignore messages your body sends you. Although humans share many
physical characteristics, people are often different in terms of their physical strengths and
All muscle discomfort and fatigue is not a
cumulative trauma disorder. Everyone experiences occasional aches and pains from both work and play-especially
when you are not used to the activity. Nevertheless, awkward, repetitive work positions can result in long-term
physical problems, so it's up to you to avoid these in whatever ways you can. If the ache doesn't go away within
a day or two, follow the above suggestions.
If you have early symptoms of chronic
discomfort, report it immediately to your supervisor. The sooner a better tool or work position can be
incorporated into your work activities, the sooner those symptoms can be controlled.