The day-to-day calls for of labor can pose many challenges when you might have arthritis. That’s true whether or not you’re employed at a desk job or a job that requires lifting and bending. Fortunately, a couple of easy rules might help most individuals get by the day with out undue ache. Ergonomically designed chairs, desks, and particular tools may also assist take the pressure off painful joints. Here are eight ideas from arthritis specialists.
1. Take Breaks From Repetitive Motions
Whether you’re employed at a pc or on a development web site, likelihood is your job requires some repetitive motions. “Repetitive movements can cause repetitive stress injuries, which can exacerbate arthritis pain,” says Andrew Lui, PT, assistant medical professor of bodily remedy and rehabilitation at the University of California, San Francisco, the place he counsels individuals with arthritis and different joint ache. “Whenever possible, take frequent breaks if you have to do work that involves repetitive movements.”
2. Use Good Arthritis Body Mechanics
Whether you do a lot of moving at work or sit or stand in one position, your joints are less likely to act up if you keep them in what physical therapists call a neutral position. For knees, for example, the neutral position is slightly bent — the position they are in when you sit in a chair with your feet extended forward a little.
For wrists, neutral position places your hand and forearm in a straight line, so the nerves passing through your wrist aren’t pinched. The neutral position for your neck when you’re working at a desk is with your head held straight. “Whatever kind of work you do, pay attention to the position your body is in,” says Lui. “Try to eliminate unnecessary strain by finding the most comfortable position.”
3. Stay Mobile With Osteoarthritis
Staying in any one position for too long also puts stress on your joints. “As much as possible, try to change positions frequently during your working day,” says Kimberly Topp, PhD, professor and chair of the department of physical therapy and rehabilitation services at UC-San Francisco.
If you’re on your feet a lot at work, take frequent breaks to sit. Another strategy that may help: placing one foot on a footstool while you’re standing, in order to change your knee position and relieve strain 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 change your body position. If your job involves sitting, take breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around. Desk chairs that allow you to adjust positions can also help prevent unnecessary strain on joints.
4. Lift Wisely and Save Your Joints
“If your job involves lifting objects, be sure to bend your knees when lifting,” says Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH, professor emeritus at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of The Arthritis Helpbook. “This puts less strain on your back. Hold objects close to your body in order to reduce the load on your arms and wrists.” Store heavy items in locations that minimize the amount of lifting you have to do. When possible, ask co-workers to help if your arthritis is acting up.
5. Minimize Joint Pain and Strain
“By using a little advance planning, you can avoid unnecessary strain on troublesome joints,” says Lorig. If you have to climb stairs for something, for instance, think about anything else you might need to bring up or down. That way you can minimize the number of trips you have to take.
6. Use Arthritis-Friendly Wheels
The wheel was a terrific 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. If you’re buying a cart, try out several models to find the one that feels best to you. Ideally, folding carts should be sturdy but light, with a handle that feels comfortable in your hands.
7. Try Arthritis Assistive Devices
Today, many kinds of tools and gadgets are available in designs made to minimize the strain on joints, especially fingers and hands. Examples include:
- Ergonomic computer keyboards. Designed so that your hands and wrists are aligned to minimize 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. Some ergonomic keyboards are adjustable, allowing you to find the position that’s most comfortable for you.
- Doorknob extenders. These clever devices eliminate the need for closing your hand around the knob — something that can be painful if you have arthritis in your hands or fingers.
- Book holders. If your work involves consulting books or manuals, desktop book holders are a great way to minimize strain on your hands. Another new option is eBook readers, which are typically much lighter than books and can be propped up in stands on your desk.
- Pencil grips. If you use a pencil at work, buy a pencil grip, which wraps around the shaft of the pencil, creating a much wider grip. Some pens come with built-in grips.
- Ergonomically designed implements. Many tools, from scissors to screwdrivers, come in varieties designed to minimize joint pain. Because no two people with arthritis are exactly alike, it’s wise to try out several models in order to choose the one that’s best for you.
8. Reduce Stress and Ease Joint Pain
“The issue for people with arthritis is managing pain, and pain comes from many sources,” says Lorig. “Stress, depression, and fatigue can also increase pain.” So as well as to discovering sensible methods and instruments to reduce joint pressure, it’s necessary to discover methods to relieve stress and keep a sensible outlook.
Learning a couple of particular leisure methods, resembling progressive leisure or meditation, might help. Taking just a little time every day for train has additionally been proven to assist ease stress and despair. “Exercise has the added benefit of strengthening joint muscles and improving flexibility,” says Lorig. That, in flip, might assist ease arthritis ache.