There's no surprise that computers are here to stay.
Not only do many us live on computers throughout the work day, but even when we're home, we find it difficult to get off our devices. While keyboarding and mousing may not be considered a strenuous activity, when done improperly, they can cause damage to the wrists over time, resulting in painful and sometimes permanent damage.
Wrist pain is usually the first warning sign that something more severe is in the making, and if it continues without some sort of remediation, activities away from the computer, such as making home-cooked meals, caring for our families, exercising and more can be difficult. When you think about it, we even express ourselves to others through hand gestures, writing, and texting, all of which make the use of our wrists essential to daily living.
Be mindful of those wrists, and use these 3 quick tips to help keep them happy and healthy at work.
1. Posture Check
You know that part of the afternoon when the day is winding down and your posture starts to slide and you find yourself slumping over your desk? Check yourself!
Your posture is not only crucial to your spine health but also affects the safety of your wrists as you type.
The first thing you can do is start by moving your glutes to the back of your seat. Distribute your weight evenly in the chair. Sit upright with your head and torso aligned vertically. As a bonus move, smile!
2. Computer & Keyboard Placement
Many offices haven’t yet taken the steps to invest in ergonomics for their employees. If this is your office, check in with your computer and keyboard placement on your desk.
Start by raising the heel of your hands off your keyboard. From here, look down to your wrists. We want to be sure our wrists are angled below our elbows to keep the blood flowing. Raise your chair the appropriate height to allow you to keep your elbows elevated.
Then, position the screen at least 20 inches in front of you, at eye level. Quick check, is your chin level with the ground? If not, the screen is not at eye level. As a bonus move, breathe!
3. Take a Break
Working straight through the workday without a break is not only unhealthy for your eyes but also your wrists.
So take a moment and reward yourself by getting up. Walk around, stretch your wrists, spread your fingers wide, squeeze them tight.
In all this, pay attention to your body. It will give you signals that it’s time to do something different. Whether it’s that initial, get up and move, or the slow and steady irritation of your wrists, when you tune in to the cues your body provides, you can reduce your risk of injury and more serious pain.
Now it’s time to put what you learned into action! What changes do you need to make? Take another moment and write down your goals, share them with co-workers, or pair with a co-worker to hold you accountable! Feel free to share your goals in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
Author's Note: If you do start to experience wrist discomfort or pain, see a doctor to have it check out. Too many people work through their pain hoping it will go away, only to have it get worse. You’re your wrists and catch it early.