Monday, February 19, 2007

Protect your hands

…HealthBeat, the Harvard health letter, wrote on Feb 15, 2007, about hands and hand diseases and deformities.

…Hands are er, handy—and visible.

…We tend to take them for granted (like eyes, hint, hint).

…Hand pain, swollen joints, or finger deformities, the newsletter noted, can cause embarrassment and feelings of helplessness.

…Two big causes of pain are arthritis and carpal tunnel. But lupus, gout, cysts, and tendonitis can also afflict the hands.

…One in three adults has arthritis. It’s the leading cause of disability among Americans.

…There are 100 kinds of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common. An injury can trigger it. Repetitive motion can trigger pain like arthritis, but does not cause osteoarthritis in the hands.

…That is our friend carpal tunnel, which afflicts 2-3% of Americans, twice as many women as men.

…The pain, weakness, and tingling most often crops up in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half the ring finger. It can get so bad it wakes you up.

…Gradually it can become hard to make a fist or grab things. Surgery may be needed.

…To keep your paws pain free: Keep your wrists in a neutral position at the keyboard. Don’t flex down or up.

…Get up and stretch once an hour.

….Those split keyboards and other new wrinkles? Not yet studied and shown to be effective. Who knows—they could make it worse.

…Some people wear arm braces at work. See what the doctor says. One approach is to work less and get up and stop typing.


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