Have you ever experienced a burning sensation in your wrist, tenderness in the soft tissue of your palms, or a shooting pain down your arm? These are all symptoms of repetitive strain injuries that can result from constantly working on the computer. According to OSHA, repetitive strain injuries are the most common work-related health problems, affecting 1.8 million workers and costing billions of dollars a year. The good news is, there are several ways you can alleviate and prevent repetitive strain injuries, with just a few adjustments to the way you work.
How To Prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries
There are several ways you can prevent RSIs in your daily work activities:
- Use a soft-touch keyboard to reduce the force needed to type.
- Position your monitor about an arm’s length away from you, with the top of the screen at eye level.
- Ensure you’re able to relax your shoulders and keep your wrists straight as you type. Wrists should be at elbow level. If you can’t achieve this position with your existing workstation, install a keyboard tray .
- Use a chair with good back support, and sit up straight.
- Take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around a bit and do some gentle stretches.
Seek Medical Attention if You Notice Symptoms
Pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands, wrists, and arms may indicate the onset of a repetitive strain injury. It may start out as minor, but over time it can result in extreme difficulty in using your hands. It’s important to address the symptoms immediately to prevent further damage. Make an appointment with your doctor, who may advise anti-inflammatories, hot or cold packs, and splints. In addition, let your employer know what’s going on. Often, companies are happy to work with employees to provide the ergonomic equipment that will prevent further injury.