Proper Posture & Ergonomic Tips

Causes of Wrist Pain
Dr. Haselkorn
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Proper Posture & Back Support
proper posture & back support

Mouse Wristpad
mouse wristpad

Keyboard Gel Wristpad
keyboard gel wristpad

Exercises > Proper Posture/Ergonomics
Exercises > Strengthening & Stretching
Exercises > Wall Stretches
Exercises > Progressive Resistance
Exercises > At Home or At Work Exercises

Ergonomics is the study of your work environment and how you adapt. It takes into consideration your comfort level in your workstation. Invariably, individuals twist or strain to reach the keyboard or sit in odd contortions which result in neck, back, or wrist pain. Some simple workstation modifications, posture awareness, and chair consciousness can prevent problems.

bulletLower the height of the chair so that your back touches the back of the chair and you are comfortable.
bulletYour feet should rest firmly on the floor slightly in front of you.
bulletCenter your keyboard in front of your monitor. Your eyes should be at the same level as the tool bar.
bulletKeep the keyboard and mouse close to the edge of the desk.
bulletKeyboard and mouse should be positioned so your arms fall naturally at your sides, with wrists straight out in front while typing/mousing.
bulletSupport your wrist and forearms with a gel pad or wrist support.
bulletAvoid repetitive gripping of the mouse.
bulletKeep frequently used items close - avoid reaching for anything!
bulletDo wrist, finger, and hand exercises.

Sitting in a chair places 400 pounds of pressure on your lower back. If your back is unable to support your body, the strain which it is undergoing will affect other areas of your body as well, including your hands, arms, and wrists.

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce strain as you work. First, consider your desk posture. Be sure to sit with your back low against the back of your chair. You may need to roll up a towel or buy a lumbar roll to maintain the natural curve of your spine. Be sure the back of the head is lifted, the breastbone is lifted, and the lower back is supported. Your back should be angled backward a few degrees to widen the angle between the torso and the thighs: this increases blood flow plus reduces the compression of the spine.

Your arms should be relaxed and loose at your sides, with your forearms and hands parallel to the floor. The correct wrist and hand position should create a 90-degree angle and the wrists should not be flexed or extended, but rather should be in a neutral position. Keep your thighs at a right angle to your torso, and your knees at a right angle to your thighs.

Be sure to change your position frequently, and avoid using excessive force while typing at the keyboard. Over time, a heavy typing style could aggravate hand, wrist, or finger pain symptoms by placing joints and tissues under continual stress. Lastly, consider the use of ergonomic devices such as back supports, mouse wristpads, and keyboard gel wristpads (see illustrations at left).

More detailed coverage of this topic is available in the video Say Goodbye to Wrist Pain, which is available through this web site.

Alexander Haselkorn, M.D., P.A.
Hand Surgery Occupational Medicine General & Traumatic Surgery
750 Broadway (Corner of E. 33rd St. & Broadway)
Paterson, New Jersey 07514

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Copyright 2006 Dr. Alex Haselkorn, M.D., P.A. All rights reserved.