Why Symptoms of MSI get worse when employee’s don’t receive what they think they need……

Good morning Manager

We reviewed the ergonomic report generated by OPC when you first mentioned EE’s self reported increase in symptoms despite the fact the evidence indicates this will place her arms/shoulders into neutral postures and eliminate static loads at these joints.

These recommendations in both ergonomic and physiotherapeutic terms (I am both an Ergonomist and Physiotherapist) means this should decrease her symptoms.

Re. her insistence upon receiving a sit-to-stand workstation;    There are NO objective indicators as to how a sit-to-stand workstation will impact her specific issues especially since they are related to her neck and shoulders.

In fact at OPC Inc. we are cautious about recommending these workstations especially when there is no relationship between areas of discomfort or injury & the need to stand.

There is under-reported but equally important evidence (in particular coming from work at Cornell University’s engineering and ergonomic science program) which shows how the static standing postures which occur at a sit-to-stand workstation leads to the following, even in healthy individuals:

  1. Increased heart rates
  2. Increased cardiac muscle loading during both systole and diastole (beat and rest phases)
  3. increased venous filling in the lower limbs (legs) which in turn can increase risk for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
  4. Decreased lymphatic drainage from the lower limbs
  5. Increased loading of the joints of the lower body etc. etc.

As you can see the seemingly innocuous and simple suggestion for a sit-to-stand workstation needs to be carefully measured against the significant health risks. This is why you will notice in the Workplace Behavioural Section of OPC’s report we provided there are strong suggestions for your employee to start to take more micro-breaks; to perform some tasks in standing; to even have your team meetings occur in standing postures; to use the stairs & to commence a regular walking program.

There is a far larger body of physiological, biomechanical and mental function evidence that these activities will prevent discomfort and injury from occurring and or worsening. It is this evidence which is distilled and becomes part of our recommendations in ergonomic reports for your company.

You and EE are both welcome to view our Blog which reviews the scientific literature & explains the studies in layman’s terms for application in the workplace. This may educate her further as to why we made her specific recommendations & how this positively impacts her postures and muscle loading.

Positive feedback from yourself as Manager and your employee’s MD and rehabilitation team about proper use of ergonomics will allow her to further see the reasons for her to continue with all aspects of her recommendations.  This will also have an impact on her perception of her symptoms. To learn more about having a patient’s MD, Rehabilitation provider and family/work team reinforce a positive message about recovery from MSI related pain read our Blog or some of Dr Hamilton Hall’s extensive work in this area.

Jane Sleeth OPC Inc.

Ergonomic expertise since 1991

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