Hand and wrist pain at work
Unsurprisingly, many employees suffer chronic pain to the wrist related to time spent on the computer.
In fact, if you stop to think just how much time you spend in front of a screen, it may shock you. According to an article in the Independent, it can be as much as 1,700 hours a year!
Then, when you think about how many times you click your mouse, it gets serious. On average, about 5,000 times per day. It may require only a little effort per click, but it can be the hidden source of many problems.
Wrist pain related to working at your computer
One of the most common conditions found in an office environment is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The consequences of all this repeated activity can be surprisingly debilitating.
Repetitive Strain can have an impact on different parts of the body. As well as the wrists, it can cause problems in the fingers, elbows or even spread into the back.
It’s a result of these repeated movements causing inflammation and damage to soft tissue. This soft tissue includes muscles, nerves and tendons.
How to spot RSI
When you start to recognise symptoms of RSI you should take them seriously. Sticking your head in the sand is a bad strategy. If things feel ‘not quite right’ look into getting it sorted out early.
That being said, what symptoms should you look out for?
- Shooting pains in the wrist
- Numbness or weakness especially when using the mouse
- Sensing that the hands feel cooler or colder than normal
- Increased difficulty using the wrists for everyday activities like cutting vegetables
If you have noticed any of the above, or anything similar, get some expert advice.
Treating chronic wrist problems
As so often, the goal is to try to mitigate potential problems before they get serious. If you are office-bound, and your wrist pain is computer related, you need to become aware of your rights. Companies are legally obliged to give you breaks away from your computer.
Also, you are legally entitled to a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment. Make sure you take full advantage of both.
Time away from your computer should be just that. Preferably you won’t be scrolling through your smartphone either. Your wrist needs a complete break.
But if you do suffer from worsening wrist pain, there are various things you can do depending on the severity. You may need to consider surgery or steroid injections if the symptoms are severe. However, there are many steps you can take before that.
One of the best things to minimise mild wrist pain is to up your daily levels of exercise. Simple things like walking can help alleviate symptoms. And swimming can be hugely beneficial.
Treatments with cold-packs or anti-inflammatory medication such as Paracetamol can be very useful.
But for a thorough investigation of the problem, and a complete course of rehabilitation, consider the following; –
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