Most people would consider working in an ‘office’ environment at a desk and on a computer to be very safe, particularly when compared to working in some industries such as construction. However, there are some serious health risks associated with sitting at a desk and in front of a computer for many hours each day. With an increasing number of office workers now working from home, and often working at their kitchen table or sofa, the risks of developing injuries is even more likely.
Many of the patients who visit our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent are people working at a desk job. They are frequently dealing with conditions like lower back pain, forward head posture, and arthritis. Patients who do a lot of typing also present with conditions affecting the arms, wrists, and hands, like carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries.
To help you avoid these types of injuries, this guide will identify some common hazards for arms, hands, and wrists when working at a desk job. Our Stoke chiropractor also explains how visiting our clinic, City Chiropractic in Stoke, can improve the health of your arms, hands, and wrists.
Arm, Hand and Wrist Hazards At Your Desk Job
Most office injuries affecting the arms, wrists, and hands are caused by poor working posture. Poor working posture places additional strain on the body, leading to inflammation, muscle strains, and joint problems.
Although these issues tend to be minor initially, over the course of several months or years, they can become quite painful. They often force workers to seek treatment from a medical professional such as their GP or chiropractor.
The simplest way to avoid poor working posture is to focus on keeping your joints in a neutral position. For the upper limbs, this means maintaining a straight line between the forearm, wrist and hand. If using a desk, the elbow joint should be bent to 90 degrees, with your forearm and hand aligned. This helps you maintain excellent blood flow and minimal pressure on the joints and muscles.
There are several common hazards to be mindful of. These include:
Hazard: Wrist Extension
A wrist extension occurs when the angle of the wrist joint is increased. So, instead of having your hands on the same level as your forearms and wrists, they are tilted at a higher or lower angle.
This hazard commonly occurs when a person has their chair positioned too high, so the forearms are pointed down, the wrist is on the desk, and the hands are pointed up to use a keyboard. It can also happen when using a keyboard with feet extended or a keyboard that is too low.
The solution to this issue is to adjust your chair height and keyboard height.
Hazard: Ulnar Deviation
Ulnar deviation occurs when bending your hand away from the thumb side. It often occurs in an office environment when using a computer mouse in an area with insufficient room. The person will twist their hand to make it easier to move the mouse.
There are several solutions to this issue including making more space for using a mouse, using a smaller keyboard (without a numeric pad), using a keyboard with the numeric pad on the left side, or using a mouse bridge.
Hazard: Contact Stress
Contact stress occurs when a hard object presses against your body for long periods. When using a desk, the main risk of contact stress is the edge of the desk hitting the wrist, placing pressure on the wrist’s tendons. To avoid contact stress, move your chair to the correct height. You can also use a gel wrist guard to reduce the pressure being placed on your wrist.
Hazard: Excessive Elbow Flexion
Excessive elbow flexion occurs when your elbows are bent too much. While in this position, there is additional pressure being placed on many of the blood vessels, muscles, and nerves in the arms.
The most common causes of excessive elbow flexion are having your chair too low or a keyboard that is too high. Make changes so your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.
How Visiting Our Chiropractors In Stoke on Trent Can Help
If you experience pain, discomfort, numbness, tingling or other unexpected sensations in your limbs, our highly trained and caring chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke are here to take care of you.
Our chiropractors believe that it is important to look for the root cause of your problem as opposed to masking the symptoms. There are a lot of reasons why problems occur, frequently for people who work in an office type environment spending most of their day at a desk and working on a computer the main causes are:
Micro trauma – multiple minor incidents that cumulate over an extended period such as poor postures when using the computer at work causing a painful neck.
Poor posture – posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.
Your chiropractor will perform several diagnostic tests to determine what is causing your symptoms. We treat these problems using chiropractic techniques as well as others that are derived from physiotherapy and sports massage. This gives us a diverse range of techniques to treat conditions that affect the muscles, ligaments, joints, and/or nerves.
Your chiropractor can also provide advice on workplace ergonomics, lifestyle factors, and stretching and exercise to improve your condition.
To book an appointment with one of our Stoke chiropractors, call our clinic on 01782 848 184 or you can book online on our website here.