In the 21st century, we encounter vibrating objects nearly everywhere we go. Everything from cell phones to power tools and even bumpy car rides cause our body to shake, but what is the real toll of this uninitiated movement? It turns out that over time the vibrating objects we deal with on a day-to-day basis can adversely affect our health and leave us prone to significant injuries to our back and extremities.
Whole-body vibration is experienced in any work or living condition that involves sitting, standing, or lying on a vibrating surface. Excessive levels and durations of exposure to whole-body vibrations may contribute to back pain, blurred vision, decrease in manual coordination, drowsiness (even with proper rest), insomnia, headaches and an upset stomach If it sounds far-fetched, consider that if you drive daily on poorly kept roads, work near an AC/Heating unit or other vibrating machine, or frequently sit in a massage chair you could be at risk developing these symptoms and other performance problems. While possible, adverse symptoms from whole-body vibrations are relatively rare.
The most common area of injury due to vibration are the hands and arms, since they are used to grab and hold objects such as power tools. Depending on the vibration level and duration, power tool use may contribute to Raynaud’s syndrome (pictured left) or vibration-induced white finger disorders. These disorders show a progression of symptoms beginning with occasional or intermittent numbness or blanching of the tips of a few fingers to more persistent attacks, affecting greater parts of most fingers and reducing tactile discrimination and manual dexterity. In more extreme cases, Raynaud’s syndrome and white-finger disorder cause severe tingling of the hands and arms, chronic aches and pains, and weakening of grip muscles.
It is possible to reduce the likelihood of developing whole-body and hand-arm vibration syndromes by following a few recommendations and avoiding situations where you are prone to injury:
2.) If you frequently use massage chair or other vibrating devices to alleviate muscle pain, consider mixing up your treatment to include manual massagers such as the Theracane or the Happy Massager, these self-massage devices are designed to apply pressure to sore muscles and trigger points anywhere on your body.
3.) Select power tools with anti-vibration properties such as protective handle coatings, vibration attenuation gloves, and easy-to-operate lubrication and maintenance.
4.) Limit work to short intervals or, if possible, rotations between a few people.
HealthyBack.com is a specialty retailer that provides high-end comfort solutions and ergonomic products for back pain and other physical conditions. The company offers pain relieving products for sleeping, working, exercising and relaxing including back and neck supports, specialty mattresses, office chairs, exercise and therapy equipment, recliners and massage chairs. Healthy Back sells recognizable name brands such as Herman Miller and Tempur-Pedic, but also represents smaller, specialized manufacturers offering a growing selection of house-branded goods. Healthy Back has 23 stores in 6 states across the United States, and also sells through its website and call center, making it the largest privately owned back care retailer.