A medic's first aid advice part 3: Strains & Sprains
We invited TransMed Services Ltd to advise on dealing with some of the more common injuries resulting from accidents at work in a four part guest blog series.
Part 3 - Strains & Sprains
My name is Blair Elliott and I’m the Operations Manager for TransMed. We provide ambulance services, event medical services and first aid training for businesses. You’re reading part three of Transmed’s guest blog for Paschal O’Hare Solicitors about dealing with common injuries sustained in the workplace. In this post I’m going to cover an injury type that doesn’t require a paramedic, but is common enough that employees should be aware of the symptoms and treatment:
Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive strain injuries, or RSI, often occurs over time when certain muscles or tendons are overused or overworked. It is often the outcome when repetitive activities or high intensity activities without rest are carried out. However, even poor posture can cause such an injury. Other contributing factors include working in the cold, using vibrating tools and being in an off-balance position often.
Employers have a responsibility to try to prevent RSI and to ensure those that suffer from it don’t get worse. This is usually achieved through break policies or personal protection equipment.
Treatment for repetitive strain injuries is generally quite straightforward and a GP can usually take care of it. Although on occasion, someone might be referred to a physiotherapist. Your GP will speak with you in an attempt to identify the cause of RSI. If adjustments cannot be made in work the person suffering with the injury may need to stop the activity altogether. To relieve symptoms, a GP may advise an anti-inflammatory or the use of a heat or cold pack.
Muscle Strains & Sprains
Repetitive Strain Injury creeps up over time. However, strains and sprains in general can happen with one fall, awkward movement or poor lift. Symptoms include pain, weakness or tenderness around the injured area. Swelling is likely and you might experience muscle spasms or cramping. Thankfully, it’s easily treated with rest. However, when the injury has just occurred some minor first aid can be applied:
- Apply an ice pack for up to 20 minutes every 3 hours.
- Compress the injured area with a bandage.
- Elevate the area if possible.
A GP might be consulted, however, in most cases a Pharmacist can assist. A hospital visit is not necessary unless you believe you also sustained a fracture. You can learn more about fractures in part one of this series by my colleague Andrew.
This was part three of our four-part guest blog. The next topic TransMed will be covering is choking.
Thanks for reading,
This is part three in a series of guest blog posts.
Part 1. Fractures by Andrew Moore
Part 2. Cuts / lacerations by Dean Hamilton
Part 4. Choking by James McMahon
Blair is a fully qualified Emergency Medical Technician and Lifeguard with frontline experience in South Africa. The content produced by him does not constitute as recognised first-aid training or medical advice and it should be viewed as informational only.