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Arthritis at Work: Tips to Help You Get Through the Day


The day-to-day demands of work can present many challenges if you have arthritis. This is true whether you work in a desk job or a job that requires lifting and bending. Fortunately, a few simple principles can help most people get through the day without unnecessary pain. Ergonomically designed chairs, desks and specialized equipment can also help relieve the strain of painful joints. Here are eight tips from arthritis experts.

1. Take a break from repetitive motions

Whether you work on a computer or on a construction site, chances are your work requires some repetitive motion. “Repetitive movements can lead to repetitive stress injuries, which can exacerbate gout pain,” says Andrew Louie, MD, assistant clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of California, San Francisco, where they can cause arthritis and arthritis. give advice to other people. joint pain. “Whenever possible, take frequent breaks if you have to do work that involves repetitive activities.”

2. Use Good Arthritis Body Mechanics

Whether you do a lot of moving at work, sitting or standing in one position, your joints are less likely to work if you keep them in a physical therapist neutral position. For kneesFor example, the neutral position is slightly bent – the position in which they occur when you sit in a chair and extend your legs slightly forward.

For wrists, the neutral position keeps your hand and forearm in a straight line so that the nerves passing through your wrist are not pinched. The neutral position for your neck is keeping your head straight when you are working at a desk. “Whatever work you do, pay attention to the position your body is in,” Louis says. “Try to eliminate unnecessary stress by finding the most comfortable position.”

3. Stay Mobile With Osteoarthritis

Staying in one position for a long time also puts stress on your joints. “Try to switch positions as frequently as possible during your work day,” says Kimberly Top, MD, professor and chair of the department of physical therapy and rehabilitation services at UC-San Francisco.

If you’re very much on your feet at work, take frequent breaks to sit. Another strategy that may help: To switch your legs, place one foot on a footstool while standing. knee Position and relieve the stress on your back. (Be sure to alternate between your right and left foot.) If your job involves working with your hands, such as typing or carpentry, alternate tasks frequently so that you can change your body position. If your job involves sitting, take breaks to stand, stretch, and move around. Desk chairs that allow you to adjust positions can also help prevent unnecessary stress on joints.

4. Rise Wisely and Save Your Joints

“If your job involves lifting objects, be sure to bend your knees when lifting,” says author Kate Lorig, RN, DRPH, professor emeritus at Stanford University School of Medicine and author. Arthritis Helpbook. “It puts less pressure on your back. Keep objects closer to your body to reduce the load on your arms and wrists.” Store heavy items in places that minimize the amount of lifting you have to do. When possible, ask coworkers for help if your arthritis is acting up.

5. Reduce Joint Pain and Stress

“By using a little advance planning, you can avoid unnecessary stress on sore joints,” says Lorig. For example, if you have to climb stairs for something, think about something else you might need to get up or down. This way you can reduce the number of trips you make.

6. Use Arthritis-Friendly Wheels

The wheel was a wonderful invention. So use it. Folding metal carts, wheeled tea carts, utility carts, and wheeled briefcases or suitcases are great ways to move items from place to place without having to carry them around. If you’re buying a cart, try several models to find the one that suits you best. Ideally, the folding cart should be sturdy but lightweight, with a handle that feels comfortable in your hands.

7. Try Arthritis Assistive Devices

Today, there are a variety of tools and gadgets available in designs designed to reduce stress on the joints, especially the fingers and hands. examples include:

  • Ergonomic computer keyboard. Designed so that your hand and wrist are aligned to reduce pinching of the nerves in your wrist, these keyboards have been shown to reduce pressure within the carpal tunnel, which carries the nerves that control the hand. goes. Some ergonomic keyboards are adjustable, so you can find the position most comfortable for you.
  • Doorknob Extender. These clever devices eliminate the need to lock your hand around the knob—something that can be painful if you have arthritis in your hands or fingers.
  • book holder. If your work involves consulting books or manuals, a desktop book holder is a great way to reduce the stress on your hands. Another new option is eBook readers, which are usually much lighter than books and can be placed in a stand on your desk.
  • Holds a pencil. If you use a pencil at work, buy a pencil grip that wraps around the shaft of the pencil, creating a wider grip. Some pens come with built-in grips.
  • Ergonomically designed equipment. Many tools, from scissors to screwdrivers, come in varieties designed to ease joint pain. Since no two people with arthritis are exactly the same, it is wise to try several models to find the one that is best for you.

8. Reduce stress and reduce joint pain

“The issue for people with arthritis is pain management, and pain comes from many sources,” says Lorig. “Stress, depression, and fatigue can also increase pain.” So in addition to finding practical strategies and tools to reduce joint stress, it is important to find ways to relieve stress and maintain a practical approach.

Learning some specific relaxation techniques, such as progressive relaxation or meditation, can help. Taking a little time each day for exercise has also been shown to help ease stress and depression. “Exercise It has the added benefit of strengthening joint muscles and improving flexibility,” says Laurig. This, in turn, may help reduce arthritis pain.

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