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Care Of Hands And Arms For Computer Users

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It discusses causes of fatigue and discomfort of the hands and arms while using computer keyboards and mice.
It provides recommendations on how to provide relief:
Adjusting a better posture
Taking frequent breaks
Considering ergonomic devices

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Care Of Hands And Arms For Computer Users

  1. 1. Care of hands and arms for computer users 8-Mar-2009 Angel Rivera [email_address] Model and Pictures by Victor Rivera
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>My qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Caveats </li></ul><ul><li>Problem </li></ul><ul><li>Posture and Mechanics </li></ul><ul><li>Setup of workstation </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Devices / products </li></ul><ul><li>Self-massage </li></ul>
  3. 3. Objectives <ul><li>To share information on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The causes of fatigue and discomfort of the hands and arms while using computer keyboards and mice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommendations on how to provide relief: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adjusting a better posture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Taking frequent breaks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Considering ergonomic devices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exercise </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self-massage </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. My qualifications <ul><li>Why do I think that I can talk about this topic? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Several years ago I had a lot of pain and discomfort in the hands and I took a long-term approach that is working for me. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I am a licensed massage therapist. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Caveats <ul><li>I cannot diagnose a condition, nor prescribe treatment. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Although, I can offer recommendations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I am providing information on products and I give specific examples for illustration purposes. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I do not have any financial interest on them. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I am not an ergonomics “expert”. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I am providing techniques that are working for me. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Problem <ul><li>Many people who use computers for many hours a day are feeling discomfort and pain in different parts of the body due to the continuous and long term use of computers. </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation concentrates on the upper extremities: arms, forearms, wrists, hands. </li></ul><ul><li>Note: A commonly used (and sometimes a catch-all) term for pain condition of the wrist is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Carpal Tunnel Syndrome </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Causes of fatigue and discomfort <ul><li>The 3 main causes of computer-related fatigue and discomfort are: </li></ul><ul><li>Repetitive motion , which causes overuse of muscles </li></ul><ul><li>Improper body positioning , which causes lack of oxygen to the muscles </li></ul><ul><li>Staying in the same position for long periods of time </li></ul>
  8. 8. Reducing fatigue and discomfort <ul><li>To reduce fatigue and discomfort and possible musculoskeletal disorder it is important do: </li></ul><ul><li>Understand how to avoid awkward body postures </li></ul><ul><li>Setup your workstation properly </li></ul><ul><li>Practice safe work habits to increase circulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain a neutral position while working </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternate tasks - move your body throughout the day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use ergonomic devices and auxiliary products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do stretch exercises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do self – massage on the affected areas </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Muscle anatomy
  10. 10. Muscle contraction <ul><li>A muscle is a set of bundles of bundles of muscle fibers (each fiber is a long cell – visualize a single thread in a spider web). </li></ul><ul><li>A muscle fiber is able to contract upon a nerve impulse. </li></ul><ul><li>Blood vessels are inside the bundles and provide nutrients and remote waste products to muscle fibers. </li></ul><ul><li>During contraction, the blood vessels are squeezed and their flow capacity is diminished. </li></ul><ul><li>A muscle that is contracted for too long, it is not receiving enough nourishment and is accumulating waste products. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, to provide proper blood flow, it is necessary to reduce the muscle contraction by avoiding being a long time in a single position, by alternating tasks, doing exercise and self-massage. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Neck and Upper Back – awkward postures <ul><li>Forward head posture is a common cause of discomfort in the upper back and in the neck muscles. </li></ul><ul><li>It can compress the nerves that run from the neck into the arms, which may cause pain in the arms and hands. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Neck and Upper Back – Solution <ul><li>Maintain a neck posture by keeping aligned the ears with shoulders and hips. </li></ul><ul><li>This posture reduces the amount of work required of upper back and neck muscles. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Shoulder – awkward posture <ul><ul><li>Sustained reaching forward with the shoulders can compress blood vessels and nerves that travel through the shoulder. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Shoulder - Solution <ul><li>Maintain a neutral shoulder position (relaxed, elbow at side, not over reaching). </li></ul><ul><li>This position allows proper circulation to arm and hand. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Forearm/Wrists awkward posture <ul><li>Wrists bent upward: extension </li></ul><ul><li>Wrists bent downward: flexion </li></ul><ul><li>Wrists bent to the side: deviation (illustrated) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Forearm/Wrist - Solution <ul><li>Maintain a neutral position: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elbow rests as your side, bent around 90 degrees. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrist stays flat, with middle finger aligned with forearm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May need to use split keyboard </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Devices and products <ul><li>There are input devices that allow a more ‘neutral’ position for the wrist (diagonal, not parallel) when using these devices: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ergonomic keyboard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ergonomic mouse </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wrist braces to stabilize the wrist, such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ACE Wrist brace with rigid splint” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Beware! Many companies and products use the “ergonomic” buzzword for products that are not really ergonomic. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Work habits <ul><li>Maintaining a neutral body position is critical. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>However, long sustained periods in any position, including a neutral position, may also lead to fatigue or pain. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You need to take breaks from your neutral position by rotating tasks and moving your body: </li></ul><ul><li>Stand up while talking on the phone </li></ul><ul><li>Walk to colleague's offices rather than emailing (when possible) </li></ul><ul><li>Break up keyboard-intensive tasks by returning calls, hand writing notes. </li></ul><ul><li>Perform mini-break stretches for a few minutes each hour </li></ul>
  19. 19. Workstation setup, general concepts <ul><li>Arrange your workspace so that your body can work in a safe neutral position to enhance vital circulation and limit overuse. </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral Spine: Ears, Shoulders, & Hips Aligned, with a Small Low Back Arch </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral Shoulders: Relaxed by Your Sides, Not Reaching </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral Elbows: At Right Angles (90 Degrees) </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral Wrists: Flat, In Line with Forearms </li></ul>
  20. 20. Workstation – adjustable chair <ul><li>Use an adjustable chair: </li></ul><ul><li>Height - up and down </li></ul><ul><li>Tilt – back and forward </li></ul><ul><li>Considering the amount of time that you spend sitting using a computer, an adjustable chair is a good investment on your health! </li></ul>
  21. 21. Workstation Setup - typing <ul><li>Proper keyboard and mouse positioning will facilitate proper typing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Type with your hands and fingers floating over the keys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use larger arm and shoulder muscles, rather than your forearm and wrist muscles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not rest your wrists on any surface, including wrists rests (to avoid pressing on the carpal tunnel) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Workstation Setup - mouse <ul><li>If you are right handed, notice the long distance that your hand has to travel from keyboard to mouse. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider using the mouse on the left. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It takes a couple of hours to adjust to use it with the left hand. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Exercises <ul><li>Performing brief stretches for 1-2 minutes every hour throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to increase circulation and reduce fatigue and discomfort. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hold each stretch 5-10 seconds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To increase strength, weight lifting is recommended </li></ul><ul><li>The following web page has a good set of stretches for computer users: </li></ul>
  24. 24. Stretching – Shoulder shrugs <ul><li>Stand or sit straight up, arms relaxed by your side </li></ul><ul><li>Slow roll shoulders straight up towards your ears </li></ul><ul><li>Squeeze your shoulders together, and let them roll down and back. </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat 5 times </li></ul>
  25. 25. Stretching – Wrist Extensors <ul><li>Helps reduce forearm and wrist fatigue </li></ul><ul><li>1: Straighten your right arm out in front of you </li></ul><ul><li>2: Point your fingers towards floor </li></ul><ul><li>3: Use your left hand to mildly stretch the right wrist further; slowly rotate right fingers to point away from your body </li></ul><ul><li>4: Hold 10 seconds </li></ul><ul><li>5: Switch sides </li></ul>
  26. 26. Stretching – Wrist Flexors <ul><li>Helps to reduce forearm and wrist fatigue </li></ul><ul><li>1: Straighten your left arm out in front of you. </li></ul><ul><li>2: Bend your wrist backwards, and point your fingers upwards. </li></ul><ul><li>3: Use your right hand to mildly stretch the bending wrist further. </li></ul><ul><li>4: Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. </li></ul><ul><li>5: Switch sides. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Stretching - Fingers <ul><li>Place finger tips together in a prayer position at chin level. </li></ul><ul><li>Slowly move your hands from chin level to chest level. </li></ul><ul><li>Slowly rotate fingers to point towards your chest. </li></ul><ul><li>Hold stretch for 5 to 10 seconds, release slowly. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Self-massage <ul><li>You can do some self-massage techniques on your arms: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do general stroking with thumb or fingers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid grasping with your thumb and fingers: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>uses all the muscles of the hand and forearm, causing more expense of energy and possibly more discomfort </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a tennis ball or a racquet ball to provide release on tensed muscles </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Self-massage objectives <ul><li>It breaks the feedback loop that maintains muscle contraction. </li></ul><ul><li>It increases circulation that has been restricted by the contracted tissue. </li></ul><ul><li>It directly stretches the knotted muscle fibers. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Massage with a tennis ball Apply your weight against a wall Slowly press the ball against the muscle
  31. 31. References <ul><li> Concordia Univ. Office Ergonomics Manual </li></ul><ul><li> Healthy Computing (Lenovo) </li></ul><ul><li> ErgoAnswers - guide to comfortable computing </li></ul><ul><li> The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook </li></ul>
  32. 32. Questions and Answers <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul>
  • chickspt

    Sep. 8, 2019
  • muppolle

    Oct. 1, 2015
  • aron196940

    Jun. 27, 2015
  • kapil

    Mar. 7, 2009

It discusses causes of fatigue and discomfort of the hands and arms while using computer keyboards and mice. It provides recommendations on how to provide relief: Adjusting a better posture Taking frequent breaks Considering ergonomic devices Exercise Self-massage


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