In many cases, easing back on work isn’t an option for those who suffer from wrist pain related to carpal tunnel, tendinitis, repetitive strain injuries, etc. Believe me, as someone who suffers from chronic pain in both forearms/wrists and works on the computer full-time, I understand. These are some of the things I’ve found that help to relieve wrist pain at work and that I wish I would’ve known to use in the past to prevent the issues from developing.
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Tools to Prevent and Relieve Computer-Related Pain at Work
Even if you don’t yet suffer from pain, these tools and techniques can help to prevent it in the future, and if you do, they can make it less likely to get any worse. You definitely want to try and prevent it, rather than having to find ways to relieve wrist pain at work down the line.
Ergonomic Office Gear
Voice-to-text software is also very helpful in preventing further injury and pain and relieving daily pressure. Both Windows and Mac have a built-in option for your convenience. Google Docs has its own voice-to-text tool (in the tools menu.) I recommend using voice to text as much as possible. You can use the built-in software on your computer for way more than just typing, including clicking and scrolling, which makes a HUGE difference. If you’re using Windows, Nuance is a great V2T software. A good headset with a mic can give you better control of your device.
In my search for do-it-all voice-controlled software, I found myself needing something to be able to click and drag across more platforms than the built-in options allowed (though with recent updates, they’ve gotten better, too!) DwellClick has been a very handy tool in that regard. They even offer a 30-day free trial for you to get used to it and figure out if you want to pay the $9.99/month it costs regularly. I paid it without hesitation at the end of the trial. Note: this app is only available for Mac at this time, but Nuance for Windows does include similar capabilities.
Breaks and Stretches
Whether you are working on preventing or relieving pain, taking multiple breaks throughout the day and stretching out your wrists and hands is crucial in avoiding further injury. Here is a great video on a few stretches that can help you to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Daily Relief Options and Tools for Wrist Pain
Suffering from wrist pain at work can be really distracting and discouraging. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make yourself a bit more comfortable working on the computer.
The longer you can go between working on the computer, the better. If you work a standard workweek, try and avoid typing, clicking, or putting any stress on your wrists as much as possible over the entirety of your weekend.
When the pain is flaring up, using an ice patch for about 20 minutes at a time can help with the inflammation. If possible, try to do it at least a couple of times per day, once before work, once after. On weekends, ramp it up a bit, especially if you’re hurting.
I’ve tried several pain creams, including some hemp creams, and your typical drugstore brands, but none have come anywhere close to providing the relief that Activene does. I wound up purchasing it because of all of the comments that said that it had been recommended to reviewers by their doctors. I have found it to be powerful and long-lasting, and really good for fighting inflammation.
In addition to the Activene (after applying, actually) I also choose to use extra-strength IcyHot patches on my wrists. Since they’re fairly large, I cut one in half and it’s enough for both wrists, to last throughout the day. With five patches in each box, this means it takes one (>$6) box per workweek.
Compression Sleeves and Gloves
Compression gloves and sleeves can be a great ally in the battle against chronic wrist pain. They’re also helpful in keeping your patches in place before the next step! These copper-lined type of compression gloves are great for daily support.
After applying the cream and patches, I slip on my compression gloves and then my wraparound wrist braces. This serves a couple of purposes at this point, which is to help keep the wrists in a neutral position and hold the patches in place. The softer, more flexible type of brace are easier to manage while working on the computer, as opposed to firmer options with metal bars for extra support, which are more useful at night time.
One more thing I found to be really helpful in relieving the pain is massage. There are a number of tools that you can use, including hand massagers that are actually meant for just that. I prefer this handheld massage gun, which comes with a lot of attachments including a curved one that’s perfect for forearm/elbow pain. I use it once in the mornings and once per night, for about 20 minutes (or when it automatically shuts off.)
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