In our last entry, we discussed ways to prevent back pain in the office. Today, we’ll consider a few ways to avoid another common office ailment – repetitive strain injuries. In office settings, these injuries typically happen in the forearms, wrists and hands as a result of using a mouse and keyboard for hours at a time. Repetitive strain injuries manifest themselves as pain and weakness in the muscles, nerves and tendons of the affected areas. The pain from these injuries can make it difficult to perform your job effectively. If left untreated, they can also lead to more serious conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
When it comes to repetitive strain injuries, the best offense is a good defense. Today we’ll help you kick the bad habits that could lead to a repetitive strain injury, and replace them with habits that will keep your hands healthy and pain free.
Adjust Your Typing Position
Maintaining good posture and proper typing form is one of the best ways to prevent a repetitive strain injury. Make sure that your chair is at a comfortable height so you can relax your shoulders and sit upright while looking at your computer monitor. Your wrists should be straight so that they are elevated over your mouse and keyboard. You should never have to bend your wrist to reach your workstation.
Take Breaks Periodically
It should come as no surprise that one way to prevent repetitive strain injuries is to simply break the repetition! If you start to notice soreness after long periods of typing, take a moment to rest and stretch the muscles in your hands and fingers. Try to take these brief breaks at least once an hour.
Building strong muscles in your hands and forearms will make them less prone to a repetitive strain injury. By exercising regularly outside of work, you can prevent muscle strain in the office.
Invest in Ergonomic Accessories
Items such as adjustable keyboard trays and monitor swing arms can help you to create a workspace that is more comfortable, and consequently less likely to give you a repetitive strain injury. Many of these accessories are also quite inexpensive. Once you get your keyboard set to the perfect height, you’ll wonder how you lived without an adjustable tray for all those years.
Even if you’ve already begun to develop a repetitive strain injury, these steps can help you to reverse the damage before it gets worse!