Since cashiers move constantly in the same way - moving items from the conveyor to the scanner, lifting in small motions, completing bank teller tasks, removing clothing tags, and so forth (depending on industry) - cashiers are susceptible to repetitive strain injuries. But what are the most common injuries and how do you treat them?
We've put together 7 of the most effective treatments we feel would help you, a cashier - if you're experiencing strains or pains at work. Check them out below. F
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What is a repetitive strain injury (RSI)?
Repetitive strain injuries are injuries caused by repetitive movements or poor posture, resulting in aches and pains in the upper body. Another name for RSI is an "occupational overuse injury." RSI usually affects the arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, neck, and shoulders.
What are the symptoms of RSI?
RSI symptoms vary and can include pain and/or tenderness in muscles and joints. When you're repeating the movement that caused these injuries, then the pain may be more acute and noticeable. You may experience:
- Sharp or dull aches
Without treatment, the pain will worsen over time.
How cashiers can treat RSI
1. Modify your tasks
The best way to treat RSI is to modify the tasks you do daily - if possible. Find out which tasks are causing strain: is it lifting items? Is it bending over too much? Once you've identified what causes the injury and pain, try and do that task in a way that doesn't cause strain and injury. If you're constantly scanning items, for example, is it possible to slow down or switch hands to reduce strain?
Take breaks at work as often as you can to give those muscles relief from strain. It may not entirely be possible to take frequent breaks depending on your workload, but consider talking to your supervisor to discuss ways you can alleviate workplace injury since long term RSI can lead to more serious strain in the affected area.
Try to rest the area that is affected as often as possible. Use heat or cold packs, and relax the area. You may want to stretch or practice yoga in order to stretch and build strength in the affected area.
4. Anti-inflammatory painkillers
Aspirin and ibuprofen tablets can reduce the symptoms of RSI, but aren't quick fixes. You'll have to combine this method with others for full effect. Take all painkillers in moderation, according to the manufacturer's and your doctor's instructions.
If the symptoms become very severe, you may be referred to a physical therapist who can advise on posture as well as how to strengthen or relax the involved muscles. Physiotherapists can do transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), using a mild electrical current to block pain signals; they can also do ultrasound therapy or infrared wave treatment.
6. Steroid injections
There are mixed reviews on whether or not steroid injections (like Cortisol) are effective against RSIs, so this method should be employed with caution. Steroid injections can reduce inflammation if your RSI develops into an injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendinitis. Steroid injections can cause tissue damage in a small portion of people so there are risks; however, for those who suffer from severe injury, it can be a welcomed relief. Always speak to your doctor before undergoing more serious treatment for RSIs.
For extreme cases, surgery may correct specific nerve or tendon damage in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome or Dupuytren's contracture. Speak to your doctor if you're considering surgery for extreme RSI pain.
What else can I do to stay safe at work?
Despite RSIs being common when working as a cashier, another safety factor is wearing the correct, supportive footwear. Slips and trips are the most common workplace accident, so make sure that you are wearing safe, slip-resistant footwear at work. Shoes For Crews (Europe), Ltd. has the highest rated slip-resistant shoes in the industry. Our shoes are the safest you can buy to get you home safe every time.
How can I find slip-resistant footwear made for cashiers?
Take a look at our tech guide where we have designed safe, comfortable, slip-resistant features with cashiers in mind. We want you to look stylish and get home safe too! Our tech guide explains our all new technologies that keep people like you safe all day long. We quite literally have the safest shoes in the industry. Take a look and download your FREE tech guide today.