Working with arthritis (top tips and products)

Every day at Posture People, we work with people with varying levels of arthritis. From students to pensioners, arthritis can affect anyone and can cause severe discomfort and pain. Medical News recently reported that links have been proven between arthritis and sleep disturbance and depression and Arthritis Research UK have started to raise awareness with National Arthritis Week and a series of events to raise awareness of the condition.

The people we see are computer users, (most commonly with arthritis of the spine, hands, neck and hips) wanting our help to safely use their computers at home. As well as recommending ergonomic equipment, we offer them advice on dealing with arthritis, which we’d like to share with you now.

If you suffer from arthritis of the spine:

Support for the lumbar region is important for people who suffer from arthritis of the spine and we recommend to our customers that they invest in a chair that has a wide range of adjustment features and a memory foam base for excellent support.

And even if your chair allows you a wide range of movement, it’s imperative that you get up and move about yourself throughout the day. Make a note on your computer calendar, or use a kitchen timer to set a reminder every 40 minutes to get up for a wander around the room. Or install Workpace, to remind you to take a break when the software determines you need it and to actually show you which stretches you need to do.

If you suffer with arthritis of the hands:

This tends to mostly affect either the fingers or the wrists and it is critical that you don’t put too much strain on the affected joints. Many people believe that tilted keyboards were designed to angle early typists’ wrists to avoid them developing wrist pain but this is a myth. Early typists were actually trained to keep their wrists parallel to the desk, a skill that we have not been passed on to our generation.

Many people use a gel rest, though this actually puts extra strain on the carpal tunnel and can actually exacerbate RSI and arthritis of the wrist. So to keep your wrists straight, and avoid putting undue pressure on them, our advice is always to choose a flat keyboard.

If you have swollen finger joints which are inflamed by clicking a mouse then why not take a free trial of the nib clickless software which automatically performs up to 95% of mouse clicking operations for you? Alternatively, a Rollermouse can help minimise discomfort as it reduces movement through the hand and wrist.

If you suffer from arthritis of the hips:

The range of Axia ergonomic chairs provides fantastic relief for those with arthritis of the hip or for people who have undergone hip replacements. With each one providing constant pelvic support and holding your hips in place.

People with hip problems can find driving problematic, in which case a support made of memory foam can help.

Again, we recommend that you set yourself reminders to get up and move about and if you are often sat in meetings, the Back Friend can help, specially contoured to give the correct support to both the lumbar and thoracic regions of the spine.

If you suffer from arthritis of the neck:

It’s really important that your monitor is at the right height. Reassess how you are sitting to make sure it’s in line with our simple guide on how to adjust your chair.

If you’re a laptop user, you should be using a laptop stand along with a separate keyboard and mouse and follow our handy guide to using a laptop safely.

Use a chair with a headrest, such as the RH 400, Flo or Axia Plus. Each of these will allow you to take breaks, and properly rest and relax your neck every now and then before you get back to work.

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