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Health and Fitness

How to prevent cumulative trauma disorder?

Preventing cumulative trauma disorder

A cumulative trauma disorder CTD is known for excessive tendon, muscle, and sensitive nerve tissues wear and tear due to continuous overuse for a long time. You can develop it from improper posture or repetitive force.

Millions of US employees work on computers daily. Although there are no specific tasks or incident that occurs during the job, improperly designed workstations can cause serious ergonomic problems. Ergonomics is defined as fitting workplace conditions, science and job demands. The major risk factors related to computer workstation environments that may cause CTDs are

  • Awkward position and working posture like bent wrists or elbows, slumped shoulders, or outstretched arms.
  • Repetitive actions like typing, sorting operations and keying
  • Using excessive force during typing.

You can control these risk factors by adjusting workstations, varying your position, and reducing repetitive or continuous actions. Stretch periodically during the day. Design workstations to reduce bad ergonomic exposure.   You can obtain a neutral work position by adjusting the chair height and the worker’s desk and keyboard position.

Ergonomic changes

The important elements that you must consider for an ergonomic workstation include the following.

  • Investing in a good chair that employees can adjust according to their requirements. The chair’s back must be adjustable enough to offer lumbar support.
  • You must keep the monitor casing 2 to 3 inches above eye level. It must be at the centre and 18 to 30 inches away from the face.
  • Avoid too much glare on the computer screen.
  • You can use a document holder placed at the level of your computer screen.
  • Keep your wrists straight and flat, and respect your forearms.
  • Relax your elbows and arms, and keep them close to the body.
  • Use adjustable keyboards.
  • You must take short but frequent breaks to stretch your fingers, hands and eyes. Trying to focus on the object a few feet away.
  • Try positioning work equipment within comfortable reach.

Other names of CTDs

There are several names for cumulative trauma disorders, such as

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Repetitive Strain injury
  • Repetitive motion disorders.
  • Bursitis
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Radial tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Trigger finger
  • Overuse syndrome

All of the mentioned-above names may be different in many ways that describe similar groups of interrelated conditions.

Causes of cumulative trauma disorder

A number of factors can contribute to cumulative trauma disorders, depending on the injury area.

Repetitive small movements

Repetitive small movements

The most common cause of CTDs is repetitive small movements. When we perform the same tasks a lot of times, utilizing the same body part, whether it is a tendon, muscle or both, it may cause wear and tear to that body part that leads to tenderness and pain. The condition that involves repetitive actions is known as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow (medical name lateral epicondylitis)


Although it may not include repetitive use, the body part that is overused can cause wear and tear in the region. For example, walking and running utilize separate tendons and muscles, but in both tasks, one body organ is overused, like the knees.

Poor posture

Poor posture cause pressure on the muscles that are different from the body part designed for, resulting in muscle soreness. However, prolonged soreness can increase wear and tear. In certain cases, this prolonged soreness can cause musculoskeletal disorders, or in severe cases, it may cause degenerative issues in the back or spine.

Muscle tension

Stress on a specific muscle causes muscle tension engaging muscles even when they are not working. It can result in a repetitive motion that affects the muscles. Examples of muscle tension include.

Muscle tension

  • Improper working methodology
  • Inadequate workstation setups.
  • Forceful grasping may cause injury.

Initially, the injury seems inconsequential. However, the cumulative effects can become severe.

Unlike other diseases, CTDs have become common ailments in society because of the increased dependency on technology.

Symptoms of cumulative trauma disorders

Cumulative trauma disorder has many types and conditions, so the symptoms of every form of CTD may vary. However, some of the common symptoms of cumulative trauma disorder include

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Edema
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Joint mobility or coordination loss.
  • Inflammation can worsen at night, leading to stiffness increase.

One or multiple symptoms may appear suddenly over the weeks or years after the injury.

It may also vary on the basis of the diagnosis.


The diagnosis of cumulative trauma disorders depends on the medical history. Physical examination of the injury. In most cases, the healthcare provider diagnoses CTD from the analysis of verbal patient and doctor discussions.

X-rays: Healthcare providers use X-rays to determine the bone injury.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and Ultrasound: Healthcare providers can also use ultrasound or MRI to visualize soft tissues.

The diagnosis is also based on the findings of the physician. However, imaging and testing help healthcare providers to identify the inflammation regions that are helpful in reducing the symptoms.

Treatment of cumulative trauma disorders

There are two types of cumulative trauma disorders

  • Nonsurgical treatment
  • Surgical treatment.

Nonsurgical treatment

The first step of nonsurgical treatment is providing rest to the affected body part and reducing activity time to reduce inflammation.

Implementing proper body ergonomics and mechanics is the easiest way to reduce stress and incidences of CTDs.

Changes workstation designs

Implement proper body posture to reduce pressure eliminating pain.

Use the furniture or products (chairs, keyboards, computer screens etc.) that are designed to optimize individual performances and prevent injury.

You can rest, use ice, splint, and hand therapy.

Using over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin to minimize inflammation and relief symptoms.

You can also have regenerative medical treatment.

Surgical treatment

Although CTDs respond to conservative treatments, in severe conditions, you may require surgical intervention. It depends on the diagnosis.

In some cases, surgeons may use a minimally invasive approach.

It is significant to discuss the symptoms and treatments with your healthcare provider. He will determine the treatment plan according to your requirements.

Carpal Tunnel release option

In many cases, healthcare provider performs this procedure to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, a type of cumulative trauma disorder. The surgeons may perform this procedure through an open incision or through a minimally invasive option by inserting a camera into the wrists.

How Complete medical wellness helps you with CTDs.

Healthcare providers from complete medical wellness solve your problems using conservation treatment. In many years of practicing, our expert physicians, and surgeons have treated a lot of patients who require minimally invasive surgery, especially if the problem is neurological.

You can contact other healthcare providers at any time and get the benefit of experienced treatment.

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