Ergo Diva addresses your ergonomic questions…and their effect on health and well being
Time to redefine the Valentine
Dear Ergo Diva,
I realized something important this Valentine’s Day. Showing my wife that I love her has little to do with chocolates, flowers or jewelry. She works 8-10 hours days at her office, then takes care of the kids and the house, and though she rarely complains, I know that her back hurts often. What I really want is to know how to care for her like she cares for us.
Wanna give the wife a good life
I think you are the true spirit of Valentine’s Day – it shouldn’t be about buying what greeting card companies tell us we should buy – it should be a day to give, care, and love those who give, care, and love us. I also think that such authentic display of love should never be limited only to February 14th. I vote for Valentine’s Day on the 14th of every month!
Here are some suggestions for a gift for your SuperWife:
- A gift card for a massage: hot stones, relaxation, deep tissue – whatever she is into – let her choose the type and the time.
- An ergonomic chair with many adjustable features to fit her body type. When she works at a computer day in and day out, a new chair will go a long way to helping her back and reminding her that you care.
- An ergonomic evaluation can help her understand the postures and habits that are at the root of her back pain.
Whichever you choose, couple it with a card that explains your appreciation for her and all she does and everything she is to you and your family – sometimes these words of love can mend a woman’s body and soul.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!
Dear Ergo Diva,
I have been working in my company’s front office for several years, but lately I am in so much pain that I am considering leaving my job. I like the company, I like my boss, I like my job – but the numbness and tingling in my wrist and pain in my thumb is too much to bare. Do you have any suggestions?
Can you assist my wrist?
You are a lucky lady (albeit with an unlucky hand) – having a job, a company, and a boss you like does not come easily. And you shouldn’t have to let that go. Please talk to your doctor about symptoms. I think you might have some extra pressure on your median nerve, which controls movement and feeling in your thumb and first three fingers. If it is carpal tunnel, you should examine the cause – it could be a disease (hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes) or as I often see in office settings, it could be caused by repetitive movements, especially if the wrist is resting on the edge of your desk (your hands higher than your wrists). Whether your doc diagnoses carpal tunnel or something else, the sooner it’s addressed, the quicker the recovery.
Here are a few suggestions that can ease your discomfort:
- Wear a wrist brace at night that will encourage circulation, keep your wrist straight, stop your fingers from curling, and help immobilize the wrist.
- Stretch or rest your hands and wrists throughout the day.
- If you are sleeping on your wrist, it is time to shift positions and maybe consider a new mattress.
- Add a keyboard tray to your workstation. Getting your elbows level with your wrists when keyboarding and mousing will help bring relief.
- Try a different type of mouse that may alleviate the repetitive movement and minimize shoulder reach. This style sits in front of your keyboard to relieve the shoulder, wrist and posture.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin, along with cold compresses, may reduce pain.
- Consider a gel wrist rest for gentling the desk edge.
Carpal tunnel is treatable, so don’t be hasty in leaving your job. Take care of yourself and let us know how it goes!
A giant leap for mankind
Dear Ergo Diva,
Almost a month after New Year’s, not only have I not made good on my resolutions, but I honestly forgot what some of them were. Does this mean I aimed too high or not high enough? How can I get motivated to try again?
February 29 – Leap Day. It can be an even bigger deal than New Year’s because it only comes every four years. It is a perfect opportunity to do things that absolutely should not wait another 4 years. A great time to improve yourself, improve your surroundings, and improve your life!
Here are some small steps you can take this month that will result in giant leaps for your health and well-being:
- Commit to taking breaks every hour – set an alarm if you have to – and get moving! Walk around, do some jumping jacks, stretch your back, legs, and arms . . . give your body (and your mind!) a break.
- Drink at least 60 ounces of water every day. Get a big jug, download an app to help remind you – whatever it will take to keep your body hydrated. Water is to your body what engine oil is to your car.
- Alternate between sitting and standing while you work. If you can, invest in a sit-stand desk (or a sit stand desk unit that attaches to your desk.). If you can’t, find another way, like any of the ones suggested here.
- Use an Anti-fatigue Mat to make sure your circulation is working well when standing
- Work out 3-5 days a week. Start with just 5 minutes a day – once you start feeling the difference it makes, you will want to find a way to do more.
Have a great leap this year, my friend!
Got ergonomic questions?
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About Karen Burke
Karen is the founder and president of Kare Products, specializing in active ergonomic solutions. She has 30 years experience in ergonomic product design and consulting.