Workplace Changes to Prevent Hand Injury

workplace changes to prevent hand injury

Do you type a lot? Do you sit in an office chair most of the day. Maybe you have carpal tunnel symptoms? Chances are that you’re reading this because you’re concerned about your hands. As a result, you might be exploring ways to make workplace changes to prevent hand injury. And the type of hand injury that’s most common (and hardest to treat) is carpal tunnel syndrome.

The problem to avoid is carpal tunnel syndrome

More and more people are getting carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a painful and progressive condition of the fingers and hand. In general, it’s primarily due to our modern workplace habits. For instance, typing at a keyboard has long been blamed for the onset of carpal tunnel. However, keyboarding doesn’t ’cause’ it. In fact, you’re either prone to getting it or you’re not. Thus, over-using your hands or repetitively straining them simply allows carpal tunnel to flourish.

Carpal tunnel is like diabetes in that neither condition has a cure. You may have diabetes and may otherwise be perfectly normal. However, being obese lets diabetes bloom. Similarly, you might have carpal tunnel lurking deep down, unnoticed. But overworking your hands brings on the symptoms.

Therefore, make proper workplace changes to prevent hand injury right now. Simple changes can make a world of difference in avoiding carpal tunnel later.

Advice for making workplace changes to prevent hand injury

There’s no doubt that the workplace aggravates symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Thus, to prevent even more pain or numbness, you have to take action now. Keep in mind that the more the wrist is bent or repetitively stressed, the greater the chances carpal tunnel will arise. Therefore, you can redesign workstations and manual tasks to avoid that. For instance, they can focus on maintaining the wrist in a natural position during work. Also, they can try to minimize repetitive movements. These and other important tips come from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

Take frequent breaks

NIOSH reports the effectiveness of taking multiple “micro-breaks”. In particular, these are 3 minute rest periods. They reduce strain and discomfort without decreasing productivity. For instance, the breaks may include:

  • Shaking or stretching the limbs
  • Leaning back in the chair
  • Squeezing the shoulder blades together
  • Taking deep breaths

Workplace changes to prevent hand injury: good posture

Good posture is a key component of good hand health. As a matter of fact, the most important workplace changes to prevent hand injury deal with maintaining good posture. Here are more recommendations from NIOSH:

  • First, sit with your spine against the back of the chair with shoulders relaxed.
  • Elbows should rest along the sides of the body, with wrists at a slight downward tilt.
  • Finally, feet should be firmly on the floor or on a foot rest.
  • Typing materials (including the screen) must be at eye level. This avoids neck bending over the work.
  • Also insure thighs are relatively level.
  • Keep the neck flexible and head upright. As a result, circulation and nerve function to the arms and hands are not hindered.
  • Maintain a level chin. Thus, instead of moving your neck, glide your head slowly and gently forward and backward in small movements. As a result, neck discomfort is avoided.
  • In general, good office furniture makes a big difference. Poorly designed furniture is a major contributor to bad posture. Chairs should be adjustable for height. Also, they should have a backrest and lumbar support. If necessary, advise your employer of the economics. For example, a higher-cost custom designed chair is far less than the medical or absentee costs of an injured employee.
bad and good posture

Workplace changes to prevent hand injury: keyboard and mouse tips

Anyone sitting at a workstation should heed these carpal tunnel keyboard tips. They include mouse use and posture advice. In fact, thee tips will protect hands and wrists from getting carpal tunnel to begin with.

  • The tension of the keys should be adjusted so they can be depressed without excessive force.
  • Keep hands and wrists in a relaxed position to avoid excessive force on the keyboard.
  • Mouse use poses a higher risk than keyboard use. Therefore, replace the mouse with a trackball.
  • Similarly, replace a standard keyboard with a jointed-type keyboard.
  • Use wrist rests or pads which fit under most keyboards. They keep wrists and fingers in a comfortable position. However, NEVER rest your wrist on them. Rather, use them as a guide as to where to place your hands.
  • Keep the mouse as close to the keyboard and your body as possible. Hence, it reduces shoulder muscle movement.
  • Hold the mouse lightly, with a relaxed forearm.
  • Cut your mouse pad in half to reduce movement.
  • Finally, do not over-stretch your fingers on the keyboard. For combination keystrokes use two hands to avoid finger stretching.

Summary:

You can make simple workplace changes to prevent hand injury problems like carpal tunnel. In fact, most require no cost at all; just simple adjustments to how you work. Indeed, maintaining good posture is among the most important one. It can avoid huge problems in the future.

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Two 15 minute Carpal Rx treatments
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About 15 years ago my wife was waking up during the wee hours screaming from carpal tunnel pain.
This isn’t an exaggerating. She’d literally scream from the pain shooting up through her wrist and into her shoulder. The poor thing still shudders when she thinks about it.

I knew she had carpal tunnel syndrome. And being a physiologist, I knew how to treat her. I’m skilled in a physical therapy technique called myofascial release. It’s a type of massage with an excellent track record for completely curing carpal tunnel symptoms.

So I’d massage her arm until the pain subsided and we could both go back to sleep. But her pain was so severe that she insisted on wanting surgery. It was so bad that she was afraid to go sleep at night.

I was dead-set against surgery because I knew myofascial release was a much better option. I made a bargain with her. Give me 30 days to cure her symptoms using massage and if it didn’t work – I’d go along with the surgery.

She agreed and I got busy in the lab. I hodgepodged together the first Carpal Rx prototype. Using it before bed for 15 minutes, she was able to sleep through the night by the 2nd day.

Carpal Rx, born out of love & compassion.

Dr. Z invented Carpal Rx to cure his wife’s symptoms so she didn’t have to undergo surgery.

Carpal Rx, born of love & compassion