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Work station assessment at home? Self employed & bad wrist pain!

(10 Posts)
teaandchocolate Wed 31-Oct-12 08:15:05

I work from home as a consultant for around 15 hours a week mostly on a computer with quite a bit of typing. I usually do 2 full days. Recently I've been experiencing quite bad wrist pain (after first having pins & needles and numbness in my hand). I've decided that it might be the way I'm working and I think my desk is too high/chair too low. Not sure what to do about it as the chair seems to be a standard seat height and the desk is fitted to the wall (& also has similar measurements to most normal desks from a quick google).

I wondered whether it's possible to arrange a work station assessment privately at home? Although I work for one company I'm self employed so don't think they'd sort it. I'd like some ideas as to how to resolve this and things/equipment to try. Anyone had anything similar?

teaandchocolate Thu 01-Nov-12 08:01:10


nocake Thu 01-Nov-12 08:11:30

There are companies who will do workstation assessments. They tend to be aimed at small companies but if you ask I'm sure you'll find one who'll do just one assessment. Google to find them.

You can also find self assessment instructions online, which should give you an indication of what you need to change.

Kirst16 Thu 01-Nov-12 08:11:57

I'd be tempted to conduce a short self assessment using guidance available on line

This should give some indication as to any adjustments you may need to take. If you don't have any improvement within 2 weeks this would give you leverage with your employer as you have tried to make the recommended adjustments. The pins and needles may indicate carpal tunnell, in which case you may also be best booking an appointment with the GP.

teaandchocolate Thu 01-Nov-12 10:18:02

Thank you for your advice. From looking at the instructions online I think my desk is slightly too high. I'm going to try raising myself up with cushions & have ordered an adjustable table to use instead &will see if that helps. I guess I'll have to see whether it improves over the next few weeks.

All of the companies I found online seemed to be aimed at employers but I guess I could call them. It is just difficult to see what you look like working and exactly what position you're in! This is one of the times when working in an office as an employee had its benefits.

I did go to the gp a few weeks ago and they weren't hugely helpful - just said if it gets really bad I could try steroid injections which I don't fancy. I'd rather try to fix the problem than treat the symptoms. Although I've bought a wrist support which helped...until it started on the other side!!

Thanks for your advice.

ValentineWiggins Thu 01-Nov-12 10:29:04

Get an ergonomic keyboard and wrist supports for keyboard and mouse. i use the microsoft ergonomic one and it's great - have used it for 10 years and I even took it with me to previous jobs. If you are doing a lot of typing you need to make sure that your wrists are higher than your hands - or at least level (hence the wrist support). Otherwise you have always got your hands flexed back at the wrist which is where the tendon presses on your carpal tunnel which compresses the nerves which gives you tingling/pins and needles. The ergo keyboard also is split so that the hands are at a much more natural angle.

Also try to make sure your screen isn't too low down - I've never been conviced by the display screen regs height suggestion as they were written a LONG time ago before screens were so big and so full of menus etc along the top. I try to put the top of the working area (ie bottom of the menu bars) at eye height, and about 18 inches to 2 feet away from me.

teaandchocolate Thu 01-Nov-12 13:43:48

Valentine thank you - I think that is exactly the problem - my wrists are no higher than my hands which is why ultimately I think my desk is too high. I have a wrist support in front if the keyboard but think I've been using it incorrectly!! I do quite a lot of typing and think this has all just been building up over the past year since I've been using the desk.

Have also just checked screen & it is too low but doesn't seem to raise up so might need a book or something!

wonkylegs Thu 01-Nov-12 14:01:17

If you use your mouse a lot it might be worth looking at getting an ergonomic one.
I have rheumatoid arthritis so had a fab assessment by the disability service when I was at uni and have used one ever since. It helps tremendously and the few times I've used a normal mouse since pain in my wrists comes back dead quick.
I use this one ... which uses your thumb & hand to click (stronger) rather than your finger.
When I doing CAD models this is great as I can do thousands of clicks a day.

teaandchocolate Thu 01-Nov-12 14:35:28

Wonkylegs thank you for that, I've never even heard of those type of mouse before. Will definitely investigate.

It's strange as I used to work in a full time, long hours job which also involved lots of typing and constant computer use but its just now when I only do 15 hours a week that I'm having issues. Makes me think it must be the desk / chair combo. I do sometimes miss having a big corporation to 'look after' me and bend over backwards to make sure I'm comfortable at work so I won't sue them grin

BessieMcBean Mon 05-Nov-12 16:11:16

I had pains in wrist and elbow, turned out it was coming from my neck. Also had shoulder probs and the exercises to loosen up my neck fixed my wrist and elbow.

Just did standing straigt and turning head to look right then left for a few mins several times a day and leaning head from side to side same number of times.

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