Ask MotionGrey: I often experience wrist pain when working on my computer. What can I do?
So you’re at work on a typical day, typing on your computer trying to finish a report, when suddenly you feel some pain in your hands extending to your arms, associated with some tingling and numbness.
You’re not alone. Wrist pain is one of the most common and fastest growing ergonomic afflictions of today’s time. The more serious condition associated with wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, affects more than 8 million people every year and, in the US, accounts for over 50% of reported illnesses to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Strain on the wrist is a common side-effect of repetitive hand movement, previously associated with sports such as gymnastics but now also associated with office and computer work. If you’re experiencing wrist pain and you feel it’s more than your usual pain or it happens more frequently, then it’s time to take the pain seriously and start making some changes in your lifestyle.
Things you can do to address wrist pain
The first thing to do would be to identify the probable cause. Did you injure your hand or wrist recently? Did you engage in an activity that may have caused the pain? If you have, then it might be causing the problem and you may need to get your wrist checked.
If, on the other hand, you haven’t done anything unusual recently and you suspect that the pain is a consequence of a lifestyle or a habit, then it’s time to start thinking about making some change in your lifestyle. Here are some things you can do to manage, minimize, and eliminate the pain:
Do regular wrist stretching and exercise
If you work on a computer and you find yourself typing all day, chances are your wrist suffers from the pressure of repetitive hand and finger movement. Give it some relief by breaking the repetition with a few exercises. Below are some of the simple stretches you can try while at your desk:
- Clenching and unclenching your fists
- Squeezing a stress ball
- Prayer stretch
- Desk press
- Grip exercises
Adjust your work environment
Among the common causes of wrist pain are incorrect chair or desk height and poorly designed office equipment.
If your chair is too low or desk too high, you might be overextending your wrist and hand when typing, causing extra stress. Make sure that when you are typing, your forearms are parallel to the floor. Check if you need to replace your office chair and desk to achieve this. Additionally, if your keyboard and mouse are not properly designed, your hands have to handle the stress when typing in an unnatural position—make sure to invest in ergonomic mouse and keyboard.
Try to wear a wrist brace when typing
A wrist brace is a device that you wear to limit wrist movement and prevent overextending of the wrist which can worsen the problem. A brace will allow you to give your wrist some rest while still being able to work.
The tips mentioned above are all designed to give your wrist some relief. However, if you notice that the pain persists, the best move would be to consult a physician who can prescribe the right medication or procedure, if needed. You can supplement this with the care tips we mentioned above to ensure that you give your wrist the proper TLC.
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