How to Avoid Wrist and Hand Pain While Working
If you, your office employees, or remote workers frequently use computers at work – workers might experience wrist and hand pain, which can lead to a workplace injury and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome often develops when you repetitively engage in tasks that put pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the pain, tingling, and discomfort associated with the syndrome. For example, setting up proper workplace ergonomics (whether in-office or remote) and performing wrist exercises and hand stretches, can reduce risk of injury at work. Read on to learn how you or your employees can prevent hand pain while working on a computer.
Causes of Wrist and Hand Pain While Working
Wrist pain can result from sudden, traumatic injuries. However, there can also be long-term causes underlying your symptoms. Working for extended hours on the computer can contribute to repetitive stress in the wrist, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Each of these afflictions manifests in different ways, so a dull, throbbing pain might signify arthritis, while a pins and needles sensation would align more closely with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Maintaining good sitting posture is the first step in reducing wrist pain. Keep your feet flat on the ground and your back flush with the chair. Relaxing your shoulders is another good tip for improving posture.
Related Article: “4 Tips to Improve Your Sitting Posture at Work”
You’ll also want to take frequent breaks, which will not only allow your wrists to rest but can also help with eye and back strain. During these breaks, there are several wrist and hand stretches you can do to reduce your risk of pain.
Wrist Exercises and Hand Stretches
- Fist Stretch – Begin with your open hand (exhibit a) and make a fist with your thumb straight and not tucked under your fingers (exhibit b). Then, (exhibit c) slide your fingertips up the palm of your hand. Move the tips of your fingers to the base of your fingers and you should feel a stretch. Do not force this movement if something is painful
- Prayer Hands – Sitting with your elbows on the desk and palms in prayer position, slowly lower your wrists to the table until you feel a stretch. Keep your palms together throughout the stretch. Hold 5 to 7 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
- Wrist Bend – Grab your hand and hold your fingers, begin to slowly bend your wrist down until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times. Next, slowly bend your wrist up until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
Before performing any unfamiliar exercises, consult your physician, especially if you have a history of carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist afflictions.
Office Ergonomics Solutions
Making the investment in quality ergonomic office design and ergonomic office equipment can greatly reduce the risk of wrist pain and other workplace injuries. Even placing a small wrist rest at the edge of your workstation can help. Many wrist pain issues arise from the common tendency to rest our wrists on the edge of our desks or tables.
Other good investments include an ergonomic mouse, especially if you spend a lot of time scrolling. If your tasks are typing-heavy, an ergonomic keyboard is also a good idea.
The best way to determine all your ergonomic needs is to perform an ergonomics assessment. Ergonomics consultants evaluate both in-office and remote worker’s needs to provide guidance on proper design and equipment that will be required to complete a job safely and efficiently. Every employee, whether working from home or in the office deserves to work in safety. And the investment will pay off, as happy workers are efficient workers.
Do Not Ignore Office Ergonomics and Worker Safety
In order to prevent repetitive injuries like wrist pain, it is important to recognize and avoid all ergonomic risk factors, no matter what they might be. The ideal way to do this is by doing an advanced ergonomics assessment for all employees (in-office and remote workers). An ergonomics assessment from an expert will give a clear indication to your employees how their current work desk setup fails and how it could be improved.
If you wish to do an ergonomics assessment or a virtual ergonomic assessment, our company can help. Contact the experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. today to check up on the ergonomic risks of all your remote employees. This will pay off a great dividend for your company in the future.
Using remote workers? The ergonomics experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. are now offering affordable Virtual Ergonomics Assessments specifically for remote workers (all you need is access to e-mail or a smart phone). Contact Us to schedule an ergonomics consultation or ergonomics assessment for your office today.
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