Arthritis and Computer Ergonomics: 5 Tips for Easy Pain Management

24 May 2021 11:08 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)

If you live with arthritis, then you know that it can impact pretty much every aspect of your daily life. Changing your career might not be an option, and even on days where your arthritis is giving you a lot of pain, you might have to try and manage the challenges in order to get things done. 

While you avoid overstretching yourself if you are struggling, there are methods you can use to reduce the strain. This includes managing your office habits if you spend a lot of time at a desk. 

A little thought about what you’re doing while at the computer, and incorporating a few positive habits, can make all the difference when it comes to preventing flare-ups.

In this guide you will find some simple tips for pain management and pain prevention that everyone can use right now at the office, even if it’s in your home!

Let’s start.

Think About Your Posture

Ensuring you have healthy posture can be difficult at any time, especially if you are experiencing pain. The temptation can be to slump and slouch in your seat, or even work from the couch. This won’t do your body any favors.

If you’re sitting at your workspace, try to keep your back lengthenedt. Lumbar support can help you to stay upright and keep your spine in an optimal position. You should also try to keep your elbows and knees bent at about 90-degrees, and feel your feet planted firmly on the floor.

It’s strange to think about posture if you haven’t considered it. It is like learning how to sit again. There are risks associated with poor posture beyond arthritic flare-ups, too, like the higher load on your lumbar discs, as shown in this literature review.

Don’t Sit All Day

Humans were not meant to be sedentary creatures. In the era of office work we may have got used to sitting, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ideal.

A standing workstation, or an adjustable sit-stand workstation, gives you the option to change your position throughout the day. It’s even been said that the best position is the next one!

The ideal ratio of time spent standing and sitting is somewhere between 1:1 to 3:1, as explained on Yaasa’s guide to standing workstation ergonomics

Switching between sitting and standing has the benefit of resetting your posture so you aren’t slumping and aggravating your joints. But it may also improve your blood pressure and keep the blood sugar levels under control. 

Stretch and Move Your Body

Instead of becoming more sendentary with arthritis,  choose some simple and gentle movement,  including yoga poses. These don’t have to be too strenuous, but the benefits are many. 

You can improve your strength and flexibility and potentially also reduce pain in the process. On top of this, yoga has been shown to help you to relax and manage stress

In the modern workplace, this can be incredibly valuable.

Stretching and moving your body throughout the working day is always recommended, whether your arthritis is mild or severe.

Consider Your Wrists and Hands

Wrist pain can be aggravated by tapping away at a keyboard all day. If you have arthritis in your hands, then you might find that typing  exacerbates your pain. However, there are products available that can help you.

Sloped keyboards that are higher in the middle can help to keep your hands in a more natural position. Similarly, you can buy keyboards that are padded to help the wrists, or even split keyboards so that you can keep your hands apart.

If you have severe pain, you can take advantage of short keys, or software that features word prediction. This can help you to use fewer keystrokes and ultimately reduce the strain. 

Technology can be used to your advantage. Plus, if you have an understanding employer, they might be willing to help you with the cost of getting the ideal office set up.

Take Regular Breaks 

Many doctors will tell you that a problem they see time and time again among people suffering from arthritis is not knowing when to stop and rest. This is a difficult skill. Spending too long not moving can make you feel stiff and cause more pain, but moving too much can also increase pain. 

The ideal balance between movement and rest is required to manage your arthritis, and learning how to judge this is a real skill. It’s one that you will find extremely valuable if you suffer from arthritis.

Conclusion

There’s no denying that office life can present challenges for arthritis management, but that doesn’t mean it has to stop you from achieving what you want to in life. 

Fortunately, there are more products than ever that can help you make the most of life with arthritis . On top of this, as we start to understand more about what can help with arthritic joints, we also learn more about habits that can help. 

Regular stretches and yoga poses are some of the best ways people are managing their pain, and striking that balance between movement and rest.

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