Working on a Computer All Day? Tips to Prevent Hand and Wrist Injuries

We all love technology. We reap its benefits every minute of the day. Almost every process and act of a normal individual’s single day can be computerized. It would be impossible now to imagine a life that doesn’t have technology in it. Computers are perhaps a major milestone in technology. It changed how we viewed our lives. Be it storing your information, watching videos, searching your favorite recipe, writing your thesis or creating a presentation for your office meeting, you are using this device for each of this task. This is how deep computers and laptops are integrated into our lives. But with every good cause, comes some of the other negative consequences. So does use computers constantly, let us go through the damages caused by these technological boons.

Prevention of Hand and Wrist Injuries

While mousing and typing on keypads is seemingly a less harmful activity, long hour exposure to these hand movements can cause severe damage over the years. This severe damage leads to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is a disorder characterized by constant numbness and pain in the wrist and hand.

Given below are some of the best ways to avoid burning out your hand’s elasticity and strength:

1. Sitting Posture:

You must be wondering that how is your sitting posture helping or causing damage to the nerves of your hands. The human body is complex. All the body parts are so intermingling connected that it’s hard to notice their impact on each other. Keeping a solid good sitting posture promises a good sturdy body for years. A good body posture helps the back, hands, shoulder, neck, head, and even the wrist remain relaxed and well-aligned. So how does one sit properly? Here are the tips:

  • Sit straight on the chair with your buttocks touching the end of the seat, your head and torso should be in orientation with each other.
  • The mass of the entire body should be properly distributed. 
  • The screen should not be further than 20 inches from you and it should remain at eye level.
  • The level of the keyboard should be such that your hands should be placed on the keyboard slightly lower than your elbow’s level. Consciously relax your shoulders every now and then. 

2. The Position of the Keyboard and Your Hand:

The tricky part with preventing your hands to develop any such disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome is to be able to maintain a proper level of distance at all times between your hands, keyboard, and your level of hands with respect to the elbows.

Follow these tips as suggested below:

  • Adjust your chair and keyboard such that your hands are slightly below the level of your elbow when your hands are on the keyboard. 
  • Your wrist should be in a relaxed position, either horizontally flat or slightly bent backward. Imagine yourself to be playing Piano so you don’t stretch or flatten your wrist too much. 
  • Use armchairs only when you are completely resting and not typing/using the keyboard. 
  • Your wrist shouldn’t be duck-footed or pigeon-toed, if the need arises due to having broad shoulders, purchase an ergonomic keyboard. The wrist should always be straight and flat.

3. The Use of Mouse:

Well, how harmful can a tiny little mouse be, right? surprisingly, we all have undermined the impact of the wrong posture on the mouse as well. Some people unconsciously use the mouse while using a computer, almost constantly have one of their hand controlling the mouse. For example, gamers have to use the mouse as much as they use the other elements of the computer for aiming and shooting. They, however, can avoid injuring or damaging their hands and fingers permanently by keeping in mind the following tips:

  • Keep the mouse in close affinity to the keyboard so that the elbow is not stressed constantly to reach out for the mouse. 
  • For hands, it remains the same as stated above that they should remain at par or below the level of the elbow at all times. 
  • The pressure to click should only be felt in the middle of the palm and not at the wrist. If you feel any pressure at the wrist, you are doing something utterly wrong.

4. Don’t Just Sit, Move!

This might not surprise you, but the best and highly recommended advice is to keep taking breaks. We all love working in continuation and without disturbance, but there is only so much our body can take. The body is built in a way to get damaged if it’s worked for prolonged hours without being given proper rests. And humans have evolved from animals, sedentary life is for plants! So, the real way to avoid permanent rupture of your wrist and hand tissues is to find time to take breaks and rest your body every now and then. Here are ways to take a break: 

  • If you can’t afford long breaks since the clock is ticking for your deadline to get over, take mini-breaks, like a pause from typing for 5 seconds after typing constantly for 30 minutes. 
  • Divide your task strategically. Choose to write one page and then do a follow-up call, manual task or a tea break. Procrastinate strategically instead of doing all leisure activities at once!
  • Don’t sit like a statue, keep changing your position- stretch your arms, rotate your neck or just stand and sit 3 to 4 times. 
  • Avoiding jerk like movements. Be soft on the keyboard and mouse. Don’t hit the buttons, type in a flow-like manner.

Final Thoughts:

We all are careless or negligent of issues that may seem small and workable at first. We deal with such small issues with procrastination and delay attending them unless they become severe and significant. Problems related to wrists and hands are never aggravated and severe at first, but with time its almost impossible to ignore the pain and numbness developed over months and years. If your day to day work requires you to stay on computers for hours, affording weeks of treatment to make your hands workable again is simply unimaginable, right? So make small yet significant steps to improve your hands and wrist’s elasticity and strength.

About the author

Catherine

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