Hand and wrist strain are inherent dangers of the working world. Anyone who works with their hands – whether they’re operating machinery or typing all day – is running the risk of seriously injuring themselves. Such injuries are often called “repetitive strain injuries” (RSIs), because they are usually caused by chronic strain rather than a single traumatic incident. RSIs affect thousands of American workers every year, causing them chronic pain and reducing their ability to effectively do their jobs. By learning about how to prevent hand and wrist strain, you can avoid becoming part of this statistic.
What Is an RSI?
Simply put, repetitive strain injuries are caused my cumulative strain on the hands, usually from prolonged straining, forceful, or awkward movements. RSIs can result in long-term damage to the muscles and tendons of the hand, leading to weakness, pain, and the loss of fine motor control.
Recognizing the Symptoms
There are a number of common symptoms associated with hand and wrist injuries, notably:
- Fatigue in the affected area
- Tingling sensations
- Increased sensitivity
- Lack of strength in hands
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be important to seek medical attention.
Preventing Hand Strain
When it comes to actually preventing RSIs, posture is the key. Make sure you’re sitting up straight, keeping your feet flat on the floor, and the lower back naturally arched. Take frequent breaks, and stretch regularly. When typing, be sure not to pound the keys, as this puts undue strain on the fingers. Keep your hands over the typing surface. A wrist supporter can help, as can ergonomic keyboards. Remember – the key to preventing repetitive strain injuries is recognizing how they occur and working on your posture and technique.
Hand Strain Prevention Tips
If your work involves using your hands and fingers, it’s important to follow these hand-strain prevention tips:
- Stretch your hands regularly
- Take a five- to ten-minute break every hour to reduce stress
- If your fingers and hands begin to hurt, take anti-swelling pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
Ergonomic office equipment can go a long way to preventing painful and frustrating hand-strain injuries. Proper furniture can reduce the overall strain on the hands as well as the rest of the body by encouraging good posture and work habits. As with most injuries, prevention is easier than treatment, so make sure to follow these tips and maintain healthy habits.
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