Workplace Tricks To Ease Arthritic Joints
Less than ergonomic conditions at work can cause stress to the joints of the healthiest individuals; the strain is compounded for workers with arthritis. We have some suggestions to improve your workplace comfort.
Many of us spend the majority of our work hours sitting and facing a computer screen. It’s a challenge to maintain good posture, and that challenge is greater for workers with arthritis in their neck, arms, or hands. Performing repetitious desk tasks for long periods without a break can contribute to neck and shoulder strain, as well as damage to hands, wrists, and even legs.
When your work environment isn’t comfortable, you won’t be performing at your best, and could be causing additional pain to muscles and joints. We have some suggestions to improve your working environment while maintaining joint mobility.
- Find the right office chair. Proper support for your back and arms really matters. Evaluate your seating by using the one-inch rule: there should be at least one inch between the edge of your seat and the back of your knees, and at least one inch from your hips to each side of your chair. A chair with lumbar support is ideal, but you can also relieve pressure on your lower back by positioning a small pillow or tightly rolled towel for extra lower back support.
- Sit correctly as you work. Position your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor and your eyes are level with the top of your computer monitor (assuming it isn’t oversized). Adjust your computer so the screen is approximately an arm’s length away. The goal is to adjust your working position so that you are less tempted to lean forward, hold your neck in a strained position, or maintain an uncomfortable posture for long periods of time.
- Move regularly through the day. Anyone with a desk job should take frequent breaks to stretch and move. Arthritic joints benefit when you pause to get up and walk a bit every 20 to 30 minutes. While you are sitting, relax your limbs with short one- to two-minute micro-breaks to shift and stretch. The purpose of mini-breaks is to give frequently used muscles and joints a respite from repetitive motion.
With a bit of attention to your office chair, your work area, and regular breaks to stretch, you can give arthritic joints the attention they need, and may even improve your productivity.
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