Your lifestyle or career choices may be putting you at risk for a repeated strain injury. If you work in an office at a computer or if you're an author who writes a lot, the typing and posture can cause damage. If you work on an assembly line, you can get the same type of strain from repeating certain movements over and over. Your chiropractor can help you if you do suffer a strain, but how can you prevent coming down with such an ailment, short of getting a different job? You'll have to make intelligent decisions and form healthy habits for the prevention of this painful and sometimes debilitating injury. Use these tips to evaluate and minimize your risk using the factors within your control.
1. Create good posture habits
Posture is one of the most crucial aspects of preventing joint injuries. You'll need to start by developing good overall body posture. Then, work on using your hands and arms correctly so as to reduce the strain on your wrists. Try to perform your daily tasks with a minimum of wrist twisting and keep your wrists as straight as possible. Be aware of what your wrists are doing and correct yourself is you notice that you're placing weight on them.It's especially easy to fall into bad hand posture while typing, so you may need to set frequent alarms or notifications to remind yourself to look at your wrist position and correct it until good positions become natural to you. Good typing posture includes straight wrists, raised arms (comfortable, but high enough not to bend your wrists or place weight on wrists or arms), and no contact with your keyboard or desk. Only your fingertips should touch the keyboard surface.
2. Brace your wrists and keep them warm
If you have a hard time training yourself to type correctly, you can take a shortcut by wearing stiff wrist braces. You can obtain these very cheaply and can even find comfortable and ergonomic ones. The braces will keep you from bending your wrists while you type and won't allow you to place as much pressure on any one spot. They'll also insulate your wrists and help to keep them warmer, which is especially important if you work in a cold environment. Cold can exacerbate joint strain, so if you don't need wrist braces but do have cold wrists, try knitted wrist-warmers to improve your chances of avoiding injury.
3. Do exercises and take lots of breaks
You may be thinking, "I'm not allowed to just take breaks at work any time I like!" True, but you can work with what you have. For example, you can take a break by lifting your hands from the keyboard and gently shaking them out while you wait for a document to upload. You can do hand and wrist exercises while on your way to the restroom or during your lunch break while waiting in line to order your food. You can incorporate lots of stretching into your daily workout routine in the morning. Stretching daily is especially important for preventing neck injuries; you can carry a lot of tension in your neck even if you have okay posture, and stretching helps to dissipate that before it goes critical.
Use these tips to help you manage and reduce your risk for strain injuries. And if you're worried that you may be developing one already, contact a local chiropractic clinic like La Mesa Chiropractic Center.