Richard North via Flickr

Richard North via Flickr

I took a retail job at Target back in the day and held the job for 36 …., not days, not months and certainly not years.

I lasted a paltry 36 hours on my first job! The six hour shift in the shoes department did me in.

My arms ached so much from constantly putting shoes back on the shelves after little kids; unsupervised by their parents played the game of who could bring down the most shoes.

I remember telling myself that day that I would have to use my brain to earn a living instead of my hands if I was going to last long in the workforce.

Was I deluded or what? While I take my brain to work, my hands are not hanging idly by my side.  I spend a sizable part of my work day punching out my keyboard, recording each and every patient encounter in an electronic medical chart.

You are going to use your hands to work no matter what you do. Even the president of the United States has to sign bills into law using his hands.

Using your hands daily in a repetitive fashion performing the same tasks makes you prone to developing overuse injuries in your hands, elbows and shoulders. These types of injuries affect your productivity and possibly your income.

Since we are big on prevention here, I will proceed with addressing 3 things you can do to make “work” work for your body;

 1. Having a height adjustable seat on the job is a must.

2. Make sure your work area and furniture work for your body and your work flow. Pay attention to your upper back positioning as well as your keyboard and mouse positioning.

3. Do your possible best to keep your elbows to your side during work, especially keyboard work. Bring the keyboard closer to you rather than stretching out your arm to reach it.

4. Take stretching breaks and try to rotate your tasks every 3-4 hours to break the repetition.

 5. Everybody needs vacations. Nothing breaks the monotony of your daily tasks than not doing them for a week. Give that body a well deserved break.

About the author

Dr. Bola

Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.


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