I wasn't sure whether to post this here or in Computer Corner. My problem is that when I spend most of the day typing away I find I'm getting aching forearms and fingers. I don't normally suffer from aches and pains so I think I should invest in a proper chair, a footrest and maybe something to tilt my keyboard at a better angle.

I was just wondering if any of you have any advice/recommendations. I do try to take frequent breaks and go and do something else which helps but doesn't entirely solve the problem.

Thanks in advance,


Hi Sheila, yes do keep trying - once you've got past that first stage of thinking you can't do it, you'll find it really helpful to not have your dominant hand tired out and tense. LOL about the exercises - years ago I had an aerobics video and the first time I put it on, after a few minutes I looked out the window and our three dogs were all sitting there watching me with bemused expressions. Hilarious.

Thank you very much Pamela. I had tried using the mouse with non-dominant hand, with limited success. But I will try again after reading this. Just did the exercises you mentioned, and found my husband staring at me somewhat alarmed! :-)

Oooh, thanks Pamela!!

Hi, one of my assignments during computer studies was to look at the health and safety aspect. I have some very easy to implement suggestions in addition to what has already been said.

One of the most important things you can do is to change using your mouse to your non-dominant hand. It takes about 3 days to get used to it, but after that you will be fine. That takes all the pressure off your dominant hand and significantly prevents OOS (occupational overuse syndrome).

Chair height and position is important - make sure your back is properly supported.

Take short breaks often - at least a few minutes every hour - get up and move around - this not only gets circulation going after being still, but also rests eyes and muscles which may have been in the same position for too long. In fact, it's been proved that taking a break gains you time as you are more relaxed and productive after a break.

If you can't leave the computer for some reason, then do the following - sitting straight, drop one arm and hand beside you and lean over to that side and pretend to pick something up off the floor. Do the same with the other side. Roll shoulders, turn head gently towards each shoulder and roll shoulders again. Shake hands as though shaking off water after you've washed them.

Make sure the screen is the correct height and distance from your body. If you put out one of your arms straight in front of you, your fingers should just touch or almost touch the centre of the screen.

Perhaps not such a biggie these days, but refresh frequency of the screen should be set as high as possible - otherwise a slow refresh rate can cause headaches and eye tiredness.

I'm sure there is much more, but hope this little input helps.

Thank you for the link - only had a quick glance as it's quite long. "Eat a balanced diet and get adequate rest" caught my eye as it's on a separate line - fat chance! Am just downloading another urgent 1.5 hour audio which will take approx 5 hours to do probably. I will have a proper read later though as I'm always open to things that might stop my bits from aching.

Thank you Sheila and Valerie. That's really useful advice....will have a nose at the Staples catalogue and see what's available.

Also found this which illustrates what you said Valerie:

Hi Wendy, yes you're right to post this as you need to stop it before it starts. My entire working life has been spent at the keyboard working up to 18 hour shifts in my heyday. At one point I had to have injections at the base of my neck to stop pain in my right shoulder that would literally have me laying on the floor in the office (great entertainment value for the lawyers) to take the weight of my head off my shoulder.

Most keyboards now are soft touch so you shouldn't necessarily need a properly ergonomically shaped one. But do make sure of the following:

1. If you cannot easily rest the palms of your hands on the area in front of the keyboard then you are either sitting too high/low in relation to it. Your elbows need to be at roughly a 90 degree angle. This may explain the forearm ache if your forearms are having to do the work of supporting your hands over the keyboard, hence the need to rest on your palms.

2. Use a chair with an adjustable back rest, preferably one with a back rest that has a slight forward/back movement as well as up and down. You need to be able to lean back a little in it, not bolt upright, to keep your shoulders, back and arms relatively relaxed.

3. Make sure your lower back is supported - use a lumbar cushion if necessary.

4. A foot rest is a good idea if the back of your thighs are pushing into the seat as your circulation will be reduced. Unfortunately I can't do that because I use a foot pedal so am jealous as I frequently have swollen legs.

5. The most important thing is to feel that your shoulders are relaxed. If they start to feel tight or burn it is imperative to take a break and let them recover otherwise the burn will set in and your hands may start to swell.

So glad you posted this, Wendy. I too spend the majority of the day in front of the computer, interspersed with bouts of crochet or knitting (currently trying to complete an order of 3 items for a client). I did buy a decent swivel chair (from Carrefour) with arms rests and height adjustment. I also bought a cheap computer desk with a sliding tray underneath to hold the keyboard. However, for the last few weeks my right shoulder, upper arm and wrist are sore, and the doc gave me anti-inflammatories.

So hope we get some good responses here. And no, I can't take time off, other than 5/10 mins break.