3 Tips to Avoid & Relieve Wrist Pain

Wrist Pain & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wrist pain can be quite debilitating.  Chronic pain can be traced to the carpal tunnel and the painful syndrome named after it.  The tunnel is comprised of bones and a band of strong connective tissue. In carpal tunnel syndrome, the tendons become inflamed and compress the median nerve in the tunnel leading to painful symptoms.  This condition is usually caused by  improper posture and use of the wrists and hands, which is common for computer users, believe it or not!

Tips to Avoid & Relieve Wrist Pain

To avoid or relieve pain in this area, there are several things you can {and should!} do:

  • Correct your posture.  You may not realize that there is proper and improper hand and wrist positioning.  Essentially, DON’T bend or cock your wrists.  DO everything you can to avoid cocking or bending of your wrists.  If you feel pain as you are typing, texting, or mousing, stop what you are doing and re-position yourself.
  • Try ergonomic products.  In particular, an ergonomic keyboard is designed to better your hands, while an ergonomic mouse makes mousing more natural and less straining for your wrists.  Regardless of what keyboard and mouse you’re using, be sure to keep them side-by-side and on the same surface to reduce movement and therefore injury.  So, lastly, a keyboard tray will store both and at a lower spot so your arms, wrists, and hands can work more comfortably.
  • Wear a wrist splint. If you’re already experiencing wrist pain, one of the trouble spots is night time.  So often, we flex our wrists and sleep with them in quite odd positions, never even aware of it.  Thus, wearing a wrist splint at night time can protect you from doing more harm.

The main idea is to avoid any movement or positioning of the hand and wrist that is awkward, cocked, or causes any discomfort.  Taking this seriously can help you avoid CTS in the first place, as well as relieve current symptoms.

4 Tips for Productivity

4 Tips for Getting More Done, More Comfortably

Even with a good night of sleep and the best intentions, it can be challenging to stay productive at work.  Whether we’re hot, tired of working, or just wishing we were on vacation, staying focused is even harder.  Throw in work-related stress and strain from distractions and uncomfortable work spaces, and you’re toast!  Thus, here are some tips that might help you stay on top of your game and manage your time better.  They are my daily go-to’s for better, more productive days.

Prioritize your day. Instead of checking emails at 9am, start your day with more important tasks or items on your to-do list.  Usually, even if you’re not a morning person, you’re starting off fresh and hopefully before you’ve hit any snags.  Only check your voice mail or e-mail once or twice a day, and keep your own messages short and direct. Don’t let low priority tasks interrupt you constantly throughout the day.

Use white noise. “White” noise fills in the sound spectrum so that you’re not focused on any one specific sound.  Office-wide sound masking can lower distractions by up to 51 percent by covering the excess conversations and noise in an open floor plan. You can also try a personal sound machine, if you don’t have control over the sound quality in the office.

Limit distractions and interruptions.  Try establishing a “no-interruption” time of about an hour to focus on important tasks (see first tip). Start by turning off all your own distractions, like your phone and e-mail. Spend this time in focused concentration. Turn on a white noise machine to cover office noise(see second tip). You can even post a sign indicating that you currently cannot be interrupted, and a time when you will be available again. You can repeat this focused time throughout the day to make the most of your time.

Improve your posture.  Typing/working however and wherever you want sounds great, but takes a toll on your body. If you can, adjust your chair to properly fit you, from the height of the seat so that your feet are flat on the floor to the backrest on your chair to fit the curve of your spine. You could also add portable lumbar support if your chair does not fully support your lower back (even a rolled up towel can do the trick!). Then, move your arm rests low enough or out of the way while typing to allow free arm movement.  Finally, be sure your hands are in a neutral typing position.  That means no weird positioning (even while mousing!) or cocked wrists.

They might not all work for you, but some of them just might help you keep going without losing your train of thought or motivation.

3 Ergonomic Tips for Laptop Users

Tips for Laptops

Laptops are all the rage, which is no surprise.  “I’d love a computer tied to my desktop,” said no one ever.  We all want the fancy bells and whistles that seem to make our lives easier, more efficient and effective.  And that’s what laptops do- we take ’em everywhere with us and work from anywhere.  I mention all this to say that while we have left our PC’s in the past, we still need to remember the same ergonomic principles, or at the least tailor our habits to better ergonomic practices.
  • SONY DSCTry an ergonomic keyboard.  Usually, a laptop’s keyboard is quite small and to compensate for space, many keys are omitted or oddly placed.  While you may get used to this new placement, hand cramping can be quite common.  Plus, it’s pretty typical to have bad hand posture, as crazy as that sounds, which tenses up the hand as well as the wrist, leading to repetitive stress injuries.
  • Raise your laptop to avoid eye strain.  Since laptop screens are often smaller than desktop monitors, it’s important to at least elevate them so that you’re not squinting to see the screen.  You can use a monitor lift to get your screen to eye level with a PC, but that’s not terribly practical for laptop use.  An option here is to set the laptop on a raised surface and possibly incorporate the above mentioned ergo keyboard.  Also, be sure to take breaks and to blink often to keep your eyes hydrated.
  • Try an ergonomic mouse.  The built-in touchpads can be great, but they often aren’t that easy or comfortable to use and can therefore cause hand cramps and pain too.  Thus, an ergonomic mouse that better fits your hand for comfort and ease of use Scan relieve cramping hands.

It’s essential to take steps to avoid eye strain and repetitive stress injuries while computing from the comfort of your own lap.

3 Ergonomic Tips for Every Parent

I usually write about ergonomic tips for desk workers since they, well, sit all day and stare at a screen.  As you might imagine, there are numerous issues that accompany such a work environment, not the least of which are sore backs and necks, eye strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.  You parents may think, thank goodness I run after my kids all day!  While you may burn a few extra calories, you are not immune to “work-related” injuries either.

3 Ergonomic Tips

  • © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationProtect Your Shoulders.  How many times do you reach around from the front seat to retrieve and hand back a dropped sippy cup or toy?  This may be great fun for your toddler, but it’s no good for your rotator cuff.  Unless you’re looking for surgery in the not too distant future, stop doing this immediately.  Your kids will only take a few days to learn that they can easily pick up their own dropped items when they get out of the car.  Or, if you have a rock star older kid like I do, make her the picker upper at stops.
  • Protect Your Back.  There is not one move every parent does that puts out our backs.  It’s all the little twists and turns we do every day that add up: bending over for toys, babies on hips, growing children climbing on for piggy back rides, etc.  All those moves take a toll on our backs, so do your best to minimize twisting or jarring.  As they say, lift with the legs, not the back.
  • Protect Your Eyes.  Whether you’re working from home like I do, checking emails, or just teaching your kids how to use the computer, even screen time for Mom adds up.  Be sure to take care of your eyes by taking breaks from staring at the screen, blinking your eyes frequently, and keeping your screen lifted to eye level.  This higher position is better for your eyes and neck.

By all means, have fun as a parent- romp and play.  But be sure to protect yourself while you’re at it so you can stay at it.

Ergonomic Hacks for Bankers

Ergonomic Hacks for Bankers

There are several ways to make bank employees more comfortable, as well as more productive and confidential.

  1. Your monitor should be at eye level (not below) and at least 20 inches from your face.

    Your monitor should be at eye level (not below) and at least 20 inches from your face.

    Monitor shields.  These visors of sorts play several roles: they block glare from lighting, as well as windows.  More importantly, they shield other observers from seeing confidential information, be it intentional or not.  When looking straight on, only the user can see what’s on the screen.  Customers, other workers, or even those just walking by cannot see through the screen.  However, the screen is easily and quickly removable when the screen should be seen by others.  win-win.

  2. Monitor lifts.  Not as .007 essential, these devices lift the monitor for better viewing for short, average, and tall employees.  Screens are sort of a one-size-fits-all purchase, but lifts allow for adjustment for fewer neck aches and pains.  What’s more, keeping the screen raised keeps your eyes healthier.  Eye strain is a common problem for computer workers, and it only worsens when looking down at a screen for too long.
  3. Sound masking.  An individual sound machine allows a single banker to ignore business around him and focus on the task or conversation at hand.  A sound masking system is farther-reaching and achieves speech privacy for all involved.  Both employees and customers are protected from being overheard.  Be it for the bank itself, or the customer, speech privacy cannot be over-rated.  That’s why every aspect of leaks needs to be considered- not just the digital ones.

Taking care of yourself and your customers is important.  Everyone needs to walk away happy.

The Benefits of an Adjustable Height Ergonomic Desk

Stand for Your Life!

There are many benefits to standing more and sitting less.  In fast, studies are telling us that:

For better health, try standing up more, a new study suggests. Those who spend 11 or more hours a day sitting are 40 percent more likely to die over the next three years regardless of how physically active they are otherwise, researchers say.

So besides a sore back, you can add slowly killing you to sitting too long’s list of grievances.  The obvious question for desk workers is “How do I sit less?”  There are two basic ways to stand more:

  1. Take breaks to walk and stretch.
  2. Take advantage of an adjustable height ergonomic desk.

What is an Adjustable Height Ergonomic Desk?

An ergonomic desk is made to fit your and your body comfortably and to house all your essential items within close reach so there’s less strain for you.  An adjustable height desk takes ergonomics up another notch by allowing you to raise or lower the work surface, which allows for quick changes of position.

adj desk


Sitting at a computer all day puts enormous pressure on your back and shoulders.  While standing up for breaks and phone calls is a good start, it’s ideal if you can maintain a standing position for longer periods of time. A recent study with adjustable height desks at Cornell University reports that most people reported reduced muscle strain when they switched between sitting and standing while at work.  As an added bonus, if you suffer from pain in your neck and shoulders, the flexibility to both sit and stand at your computer can significantly decrease your muscle strain at work


As the afternoon wears on, you may find your concentration decreasing. Standing up and taking a break improves circulation and increases productivity. Imagine how productive you would be if you continued to work while standing up! A study at USC discovered that just standing up can increase brain function by 5% to 20%. An adjustable height ergonomic desk allows you to stand at your desk while maintaining good, ergonomic posture at your computer.


Rotating between sitting and standing while at work can help provide for better overall health. Medical research has shown that, in general, standing at your job is healthier than sitting. At the University of Missouri a recent study found that standing up can also have a significant impact on weight loss and calorie burning. It may be time to try standing up for part of your work day!


An additional plus to an adjustable height desk is that the standing position makes co-worker collaboration more feasible.  One of the more awkward work moments is having someone bend over your see to see your screen as you work together, or you having to bend over someone else’s, especially for sustained work time.  An alternative is to both stand to collaborate and enjoy the benefits of standing together.

5 Tips for a Better Ergonomic Work Station

More and more people are struggling with work-related stress, strain, or even injury.  This may be due to computer-related jobs in which workers need to sit most of the day, staring at a screen, and repetitively typing all day.  What you may not know is that even a desk job can be improved with a few minor, and some more major, changes to your work habits and station.

Ergonomic Work Station Set-Up Principles

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABending your neck to see your too-low screen hurts your neck and your eyes because you’re straining both.  An easy and cheap solution is to use a monitor lift.  Your goal is to get your screen at eye level and about 20 inches from your torso.
  • Try an adjustable, ergonomic chair.  This can be quite an investment, but your back is worth it.  Even if you keep your current chair or already have an adjustable one, make sure to actually adjust it  {the height, back support, and arm rests}! Your feet should rest flat on the floor, your back should be well-supported {you can even try portable lumbar support}, and your arms should be able to slope slightly downward to reach your keyboard without cocking your wrists.
  • Ask for a wrist rest.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common office injury and be easily avoided by practicing good wrist positioning.  However, a wrist rest is poorly named- it’s really meant to rest the palms of your hands in between periods of typing.
  • Try an ergonomic keyboard.  There are more options out there than you can imagine, so finding a good fit is just a matter of preference and trying out a couple.  Ergonomic keyboards can be especially helpful as an add-on to your docked lap top.  They are much more comfortable for long periods of typing and can be moved closer to the body while your screen is elevated.
  • Request a document holder.  It’s such an easy fix, but elevating notes or documents that you frequently reference truly keeps you from straining your eyes and your neck.  Who likes to go home with a crick in their neck?
  • Lastly, try a sound machine, or even this free online generator, for fewer distractions.

As you can see, just making some simple changes to your own movements can help decrease strain.  As for the ergonomic products, prioritize the one or two products that apply to your own weak points.  Keeping your muscles, joints, mind, and overall body in good health is worth a little change!

Tips for Productivity

Tips for Productivity

Whether you work in a corner office, a cubicle, or at home, staying focused and productive can be quite challenging.  It’s easy to bang out a few hours of good work every once in a while, but how do we maintain that pace?  How do we do it at home when so many things can grab our attention?  How can we overcome writer’s block or that “blah” feeling that just can’t seem to find a new line of thought?  Check out steps 1 and 2 for being productive.

Step 1: Getting rid of distractions

For those of you who work from home, I can’t emphasize how important it is to set up good boundaries for actually getting work done at home so you still have a place to work and place to relax at home.   For work, it’s important to have a good home officewhite noise, and general organization.

However, I’ll be the first to say that even the most organized person in the world still has to discipline him/herself to work, even when the ideas aren’t flowing.  Thus, check out the next tips for basic tips to getting the ball rolling and getting over writer’s block.

Step 2: Getting rid of writer’s (worker’s) block

So, here are few tips for breaking the barrier when you’re staring at a blank screen:

  • Sit and think for 10 minutes.  Seriously, before you give yourself (another) break, try to come up with a starting point.  It’s not that I don’t value breaks- in fact I have a lot due to the nature of my work day and kids.  However, I think it’s easy to procrastinate by allowing yourself too many.
  • Make a list of things that need to get done and start doing them- it may be that you have a break-through as you make the list or start checking things off.  Sometimes, the feeling of accomplishment is enough to get your mind going.
  • If you’re writing, do a google search and see what others have written.  Sometimes this is good fodder for a new idea or a response to someone else’s.  I find that I write best {i.e. not plagiarize} if I read an article and then close it, whether I agree with it or not.
  • Since I do work from home and also have small children still at home, I don’t work 9-5.  So, I have a couple hours a couple times a day.  I push it hard while I have the peace and quiet to do it, then when I’m on with the kids, I keep a pad and paper by me so I can jot down any ideas that come to mind.  That way, I’m not working while the kids are around and I also don’t lose an idea.
  • Take breaks.  See, I do value breaks.  I just think they need to be earned.
  • Frequently, I work on an idea in the back of my head…maybe it’s a real life experience, maybe it’s not, but either way, I find that my best ideas come when I am not technically working.  I usually mull them over in the back of my mind as I wash dishes {we live in the UK- no dishwasher, so there’s lots of that} or pick up toys or even play with the kids.  Then, I either work on it the next chance I get, or I at least write it down so I don’t forget.
If you’re struggling to be productive, rework your work space for minimal distractions, then discipline yourself to actually work.

Dealing with Wrist Pain Day & Night

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be quite debilitating, especially since you get it from excessive/repeated use of your hands, wrists, and fingers.  It’s somewhat of a cyclical problem because if you didn’t need to use your hands so much, you wouldn’t have gotten it in the first place!  Typing, texting, and mousing are an integral part of most of our work days.  So, getting rid of the pain is a real pain since you have to keep working.  What can you do?

There are some basic posture and habit changes you can make.  They will take time to fully integrate into your daily life, but it’s important to try to make an effort as CTS will only get worse otherwise.

  • Correct your posture.  You may not realize that there is proper and improper hand and wrist positioning.  Essentially, DON’T bend or cock your wrists.  DO everything you can to avoid cocking or bending of your wrists.  If you feel pain as you are typing, texting, or mousing, stop what you are doing and re-position yourself.
  • Try ergonomic products.  In particular, an ergonomic keyboard is designed to better your hands, while an ergonomic mouse makes mousing more natural and less straining for your wrists.  Regardless of what keyboard and mouse you’re using, be sure to keep them side-by-side and on the same surface to reduce movement and therefore injury.  So, lastly, a keyboard tray will store both and at a lower spot so your arms, wrists, and hands can work more comfortably.
  • Wear a wrist splint. If you’re already experiencing wrist pain, one of the trouble spots is night time.  So often, we flex our wrists and sleep with them in quite odd positions, never even aware of it.  Thus, wearing a wrist splint at night time can protect you from doing more harm.

Using an ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic mouse at work and wearing a wrist splint at night can greatly reduce wrist pain and injury so you can keep working without excessive pain.

Adjustable Height Desks for Sitting Less

Medical experts are telling us that sitting is literally killing us…

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

This poster may feel a little over the top, but when you survey the findings, it’s a little scary.

So, just to sum up:

  • sitting more than 6+ hours a day increases risk of death up to 40%…even if you exercise!!
  • obese people tend to sit between 2 and 3 hours more than thinner folks {obesity has doubled 20 years…the same years that internet and gaming exploded}
  • chewing gum burns more calories than sitting
  • people who sit for work have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than those who stand for work
The main idea is that sitting too much cannot be counter-acted in any way {including exercise} except by physically sitting less.  That means that you can’t just exercise a little longer to make up for sitting longer- you have to actually stand up instead of sit for longer periods of the day.
How is this possible?

It’s actually not a new discovery that sitting isn’t the best for us.  Ergo experts have told us for a while how hard on our backs sitting is.  Maybe it’s because I’ve carried 3 pregnancies and thus the toll on my back that I’m particularly sensitive to this issue.  After a full day of work at a computer, my back aches.  There’s just no getting around it…unless I sit less….which brings me to adjustable height desks.   I love the idea of a sit or stand desk– I figure if my children have the option to sit or stand when being strolled, I should have the same option when working.    The concept is the same- when you get antsy, you can switch positions and relieve your back, which in turn, helps you sit less.  As an added bonus, those who have tried this kind of desk have reported passionately about the results: ewer back problems, better team collaboration, better circulation, and since they’re all alive, sustained life, too.

Medical experts tell us that sitting is killing us.  Your back already knows this- why not try an adjustable height desk?