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Preventing Repetitive Motion Injury: Shoulder

Man painting with long-handled paint roller.Making changes in how you use your shoulder can lessen your chances of repetitive motion injuries (RMIs). Use your shoulder wisely by following the tips below.

Position yourself well

Here are suggestions to prevent RMIs:

  • Avoid raising your arms when working above shoulder level.

  • Use a stool or stepladder when needed to prevent awkward reaching.

  • Keep your work within easy reach. This helps you avoid stretching or twisting your arms and shoulders.

Vary your tasks

Avoid repetition in the following ways:

  • Vary your on-the-job activity to help reduce the risk of RMIs.

  • Give your shoulder enough time to rest and recover from stressful tasks.

  • If one task causes you to feel pain, stop. Rest your shoulder. Go to another task if possible.

Limit force

Here are tips to reduce strain:

  • Ask for help when you need it.

  • Limit activities that could strain shoulder muscles and tendons. These include heavy lifting, pushing, and pulling especially overhead.. Get help when needed, or use dollies and wheelbarrows.

  • Find the best tools for each activity. The best tool lets you use the least force.

  • Rest before repeating a task that requires a lot of force. The more frequent the force, the greater the risk of RMIs.

Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Larson, Kim APRN, FNP
Last Review Date: 10/14/2015
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