Many job duties involve pushing the body very hard to complete the work. However, the body has limitations to what it can do. Workers who try to push their bodies too hard may experience overexertion.
According to the National Safety Council, overexertion is responsible for 31% of all nonfatal work injuries requiring days away from the job to recover. Over 275,000 injuries and eight deaths involved overexertion in 2019, making it a significant problem among the American workforce.
Symptoms of overexertion
Pushing the body too hard may evoke pain as a response. This is the body’s way of communicating that it cannot take much more of the treatment it has received. Depending on what is causing it, pain from overexertion may be sharp and sudden. However, if the damage results from overuse, the pain may be chronic and develop gradually.
According to Healthline, overexertion can also cause fatigue. This may cause the muscles to be persistently sore or the limbs to feel heavy. Physical performance, in general, may suffer compared to previous levels.
Causes of overexertion
Overexertion can occur due to performing activity for a prolonged period of time without the opportunity to rest. If the activity takes place in extreme temperatures, this increases the risk because the body has to work harder to maintain its normal temperature when the air is too cold or too hot. Sudden, forceful movements can cause acute overexertion, while repetitive motions can cause chronic injuries from overuse.
Overexertion can result from using an improper technique. Workers should receive instruction and training from employers on how to perform job duties safely to avoid overexertion.