Sunday, July 26, 2009


Ergonomics, as I define it, is the science of making improvements to your work space and daily tasks, to more efficiently fit your body and routine. Its goal is to prevent pain and injury. The warning signs your body is communicating to you that can occur in the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, head, hips, back, legs, or feet include:

  • numbness
  • burning or tingling
  • soreness, aching, or tenderness
  • pain - throbbing or dull
  • swelling
  • tightness or stiffness
  • weakness or cold

Most of us these days, in the US, have computers and therein lie a lot of these issues. The computer is such a great resource, but what a time stealer. We become so involved we lose complete track of time. One should get up every half hour, while at the computer, to do something else; for example, stretch, do another task, or simply stand. Vary your position and tasks often; set a timer to make sure you do. I work from home, so when not with clients, I'm on the computer reading, typing, or networking. I'll start a load of wash, which takes about half an hour, and when the buzzer goes off, I get up and put it in the dryer. Unload the dish washer, make the bed, clean something (ugh), go for a walk, do your exercises, study; break up your tasks throughout the day so you are not in a static position. Those of you at an office, move your phone away from the desk, if sitting all day is an issue, then get up to answer it. Stand up to print documents, file, or even to read your computer screen for a while if you can get the monitor up higher (stack up books underneath). For more information (by HP) on setting up your computer work area ergonomically, click here. For an excellent free download, of stretch breaks you can do at your desk, with periodic pop up reminders, click here.

This week was a busy client week and I had to finish the remodeling work started in the client bathroom as well. So, I did extra repetitive motion tasks realizing it would probably compromise my wrists. The median nerve pain told me it was time to stop. I chose to finish up knowing it would hurt for a day but that I would not abuse it further for the rest of the week, and worked as efficiently as possible in the mean time to get the work done. This included using my other hand, as often as possible, to paint the walls and seal the floors. I then was extra careful of my body mechanics while with clients that day. In between, I dry skin brushed my forearms from wrist to elbow, front and back, until the circulation was greatly increased. Afterwards I did muscle releases, massaged my forearm, and rested my hands for the evening. The way to avoid carpal tunnel pain is prevention and that means prioritizing tasks. Usually when I have a busy client day, I will not use my hands for other tasks that include pulling weeds, carrying buckets, typing, writing, food prep, playing the piano, cross stitching, knitting, or in this case, painting. Those of us who use our hands to make a living know this is not always possible, so are sensible and cautious in situations like I had this week. My wrists feel much better today, the bathroom is done, and I'm receiving a massage tomorrow; ahhhhh...


  1. Thank you very much for sharing this useful information. I was doing a project and for that I was looking for related information. Some of the points are very useful.

  2. Very nice and important content that you share.Good work.