By Dan Wilson, assistive technology specialist at Barry Bennett
Spending long hours at your workstation can be an enormous challenge for anyone living with any type of arthritis. Degenerative spinal conditions and widespread joint pain reduce ones capacity to remain in a sedentary position and place increased demands on the supportive muscles in the body. If your arthritis is affecting you at work, why not try the following top tips.
1. Get the right chair and look after your back
Use a good quality posture chair capable of providing effective support for your lower back area. Ideally the lumbar support should be adjustable in depth and height to give support in the correct area.
Using a head rest and adjustable arm rests on your chair will help to provide relief from neck and shoulder tension, whilst setting your chair to ‘free-float’ (unlocked mode) will encourage movement whilst sitting and help to alleviate lower back and hip pain.
2. Sort out the screen position
Make sure the top 30% of your display screen is positioned at eye level to help alleviate neck tension. This will ensure that your head remains in a neutral position when working and therefore helps to minimise neck tension.
Using a suitable monitor arm or adjustable laptop stand can help to achieve correct screen position. The Ergo Q- 220 laptop stand is a high-end laptop stand that is very lightweight, folds flat for transport and has the additional facility of an integrated document holder.
3. Try alternative input devices
To deal with problems with wrists and hands there are lots of alternative input devices for any desktop or laptop computer.An ergonomic keyboard is a good way to help relieve tension in the wrists and hands. The split design of the Fujitsu Ergonomic Keyboard offers users the flexibility to alter the width and height for your comfort, whilst the integrated wrist rest provides support for your hands.
Or try a different mouse. For wrist pain or difficulties with grip we recommend trying a vertical type mouse such as the Evoluent IV®.
Or if you experience pain when clicking the mouse, why not try a low impact external touch pad like this GlidePoint Touchpad.
4. Try using Voice Recognition Technology
Voice activated software helps when typing long documents and can reduce the use of your mouse. Most computer systems and smartphones have voice recognition options built in. This is more user-friendly than most people would imagine and can radically change your posture for the better.
Although built in options can help with some tasks Dragon Naturally Speaking for PC or Mac is the market leading software. Dragon also offers free apps for users of Apple or Android powered smart phones.
5. Try a Sit-Stand workstation
Taking frequent breaks and alternating your sitting posture helps manage their joint pain and reduces muscular fatigue.
If you’re not in a position to invest in an expensive height adjustable desk, why not try a practical solution that can transform your existing workstation into an affordable sit-stand workstation. The VariDesk® is a spring loaded mini-workstation that sits on top of your existing fixed desk. It is capable of supporting your laptop or PC at a range of different heights.
More information about making arthritis and workplace adjustments
- Every employer in the UK must provide Reasonable Adjustments to ensure that every employee has the equipment they need to work in comfort and safety. Find out more about Reasonable Adjustments and how to identify what would work for you.
- Read our factsheet about Rheumatoid Arthritis and Computing