If you work or play at the computer for several hours per day, at some point you may begin to experience hand and wrist pain. This is quite common for writers, typists, and office workers. However, what you may not know is that there are many ways to treat, or even prevent this from starting! If you are currently experiencing hand and wrist pain, or want to prevent it, try one or more of the following tips.
Proper Keyboard and Monitor Placement is Important
Using a laptop for an extended period of time, such as for work projects or gaming, isn’t exactly the best decision if you’re experiencing hand and wrist pain. When using a computer for long periods of time, you should make sure that the keyboard is relatively close to your body, and centered so that the keys that you use most often are positioned directly in front of you. Additionally, the keyboard should be slightly tilted to reduce strain on your shoulders, wrists, and hands. Generally, doctors recommend that your elbows should be between 100- and 110-degrees. If you must use a laptop for an extended period of time, consider purchasing a secondary keyboard and use a keyboard tray.
Additionally, the placement of your monitor is also a vital decision. Your monitor should be approximately two to three inches above your eye level while seated. In addition, your it should be at least an arm-length away from you.
Purchase a Wrist Rest for your Keyboard
A wrist rest is a soft rest often filled with a type of foam, such as memory-foam, that is placed between you and your keyboard. This rest will prevent your wrists from touching the top of the desk or keyboard tray, and help to keep your wrists and arms in proper alignment. Some people may find these rests somewhat uncomfortable at first, but with continued use you will notice a significant difference in your hand and wrist pain level and frequency.
Purchase a Mouse Pad with Built-in Wrist Rest
Along the same thoughts as the wrist rest for your keyboard, you can also purchase a mouse pad that includes a built-in wrist rest. This will help cushion your wrist while using your mouse. Some stores may offer separate wrist rests for your mouse.
Perform Wrist Exercises
Working and playing at the computer for long periods of time puts a significant amount of strain on the muscles, nerves, and tendons in your hands and wrists. With that said, it is a good idea to help keep blood flowing smoothly while at the computer. To do this, you should periodically take a break. During these breaks, conduct a mini-massage on both of your hands and wrists. Additionally, you can do wrist exercises such as rolling your wrists around clockwise, then counter-clockwise to help improve blood flow and flexibility.
Spending hours at the computer each day is not exactly the best thing to do when you’re trying to stay healthy, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you need to spend several hours working at the computer, try some of the tips mentioned above to prevent hand and wrist pain. Many of these tips will also help to alleviate the pain once it has started.