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5 Ways to Reduce Wrist and Elbow Pain at Work

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Being hunched over a desk all day isn’t just bad for someone’s back–it can also cause serious wrist and elbow pain that can become chronic. However, taking some preventative measures and some minor investments can go a long way to prevent and ease pain. Before settling into those TPS reports, keep these 5 easy tips in mind.

1. Practice Good Posture

Good posture can go a long way to preventing chronic pain issues. In addition to sitting up straight (and perhaps investing in an exercise ball in lieu of a chair), make sure that the wrists fall naturally onto the keyboard. There shouldn’t be any strange angles if the desk is at the right height. Some people prefer a wrist pad to ensure that wrists don’t droop, but that shouldn’t be a problem when ergonomics are in the picture.

2. Force Break Times

Breaks and rest periods are vital to being an efficient worker, but also to prevent wrist and elbow pain. Take a break from typing every 20 minutes, even if it’s only for two minutes. Walk around, shake out the wrists and get the blood pumping. Most people don’t get enough water daily, so this is a great time to squeeze in (or force in) a little hydration time.

3. Adjust, Adjust, Adjust

If a person hasn’t personally adjusted their chair, desk, monitor and keyboards, it’s not the right fit. Every person is different and will require a different angle to feel comfortable. Check to make sure that the body has natural lines and there are no kinks, especially in the wrists. This is the basics of ergonomics. Ergonomics isn’t just a style of furniture, it’s the practice of keeping the body in line.

4. Practice Counter Stretches

There’s always some time to squeeze in a little stretching or yoga throughout the day. This keeps the body, mind and spirit fresh and rejuvenated. A great counter pose is simply getting into table top position (all fours) and switch pressing the tops of the hands into the floor. Stretching the wrists in the opposite direction of what they do all day is a great way to keep flexible and prevent injury.

5. Seek Professional Help

Stiffness and chronic pain in the arms and hands is a very real and serious issue for many office workers. If the pain doesn’t subside after a few days, see a professional. A site like GrahamRehab.com is a great source for information. Consider consulting an MD, naturopathic and chiropractor to get the best advice.

Office work might not be as dangerous as coal mining or working on a fishing boat, but there are risks. Take care of the body, and it will repay the favor.

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