Managing repetitive stress injuries often requires some lifestyle changes, and it can take time to work out a strategy that works best for you.
Here are a few minor changes you can implement to minimize stress on your hands and wrists:
- Alternate Tasks – Avoid doing the same task for more than a couple of hours at a time and alternate between tasks that use different muscle groups where possible. Fatigue is a sign that you need to take a break. Take small breaks to gently stretch and bend your hands and wrists and readjust your position.
- Reduce Pressure – Many people use more force than needed to perform tasks involving their hands, which can increase pressure and cause irritation. Be mindful of the speed and amount of pressure used to perform tasks. Ease up, slow down, and grip using your palm or whole hand to distribute the load. If using tools such as riveters or jackhammers for extended periods, take frequent breaks or operate the tool at a speed that causes the least amount of vibration.
- Cultivate Good Posture – Incorrect posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward, shortening neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck, which can affect your wrists, hands, and fingers. Shoulders and neck should be relaxed to open the chest and allow your head to float upwards without strain. When using a keyboard, wrists should be in a relaxed middle position and in a straight line with your forearms at elbow height or slightly lower.