Tags: Forearm | Support | May | Help | Computer | Users

Forearm Support May Help Computer Users

Tuesday, 18 April 2006 12:00 AM

Providing forearm support may help prevent the upper body pain associated with computer work, according to a study in The British Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study, done at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that use of large arm boards cuts neck and shoulder pain as well as hand, wrist and forearm pain.

"Based on these outcomes, employers should consider providing employees who use computers with appropriate forearm support," said lead author Dr. David Rempel, MD, MPH, director of the ergonomics program at San Francisco General Hospital.

The study also found that arm boards and ergonomics training provide the most protective effect, with a statistically significant reductions in both neck and shoulder pain and right hand/wrist/forearm pain.

The boards reduced the risk of incidence of neck and shoulder disorders by nearly half.

The one year, randomized study evaluated the effects of two workstation interventions on the musculoskeletal health of call center employees -- a padded forearm support and a trackball. The forearm support is commonly called an arm board and attaches to the top front edge of the work surface. The trackball replaces a computer mouse and uses a large ball for cursor motion.

For one year, 182 participants filled out a weekly questionnaire to assess pain level in their hands, wrists, arms, upper backs and shoulders.

The trackball intervention had no effect on right upper extremity disorders.

"The trackball was difficult for some participants to use," said Rempel. "Employees with hand pain may want to try them, but they should stop if it is difficult to use."

"Based on this study, it is in the best interest of the company and the employees to provide forearm supports and training," Rempel concluded.

The researchers also suggested several simple things computer users can do to reduce problems. These included: taking scheduled breaks, maintaining an erect posture, adjusting chair height so thighs are parallel to the floor, adjusting arm support and work surface height so the forearms are parallel to the floor, adjusting the mouse and keyboard location to minimize the reach, and adjusting monitor height so that the center of the monitor is approximately 15 degrees below the visual horizon.

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Providing forearm support may help prevent the upper body pain associated with computer work, according to a study in The British Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study, done at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that use of large...
Forearm,Support,May,Help,Computer,Users
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2006-00-18
Tuesday, 18 April 2006 12:00 AM
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