Fellow translators. Stop for a minute and focus on your fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. How do they feel? Any stabbing pains, tingling, stiffness? Any dry skin, broken nails, or chipped nail polish? Ouch! I think I’ll stop focusing on my hands. They crunch, click and ache. If you are a person with a desk job who works on a computer all day long, eight hours a day (if you’re lucky) all this repetition can cause pain. Even if you just use a computer for pleasure you are at risk of wrist injury and if, like me, you use it for both purposes you need to look after yourself better!
Why not consider a simple exercise regime to protect your precious hands. Stick a post-it note on your computer to remind you to do them every day, or set an alarm on your phone. Consider an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Before I started using one, my arms and hands would keep me awake at night because they hurt, and now they don’t. The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop – keyboard and mouse L5V-00011 costs €100 but it has done wonders for me.
- With your arms outstretched in front of you and your wrists limp, keep your arms still while you raise your wrists, pointing your fingers skyward. Then lower your wrists and point your fingers downward. Repeat ten time.
- Stretch out all the fingers of both hands, then close them and make a fist. Repeat 20 times.
- Lay your forearm on a flat surface and rotate your wrists clockwise five times, then repeat in an anticlockwise direction.
- Another exercise that gives a lot of relief is holding your left hand up with your palm facing away from you, pull back on your fingers to stretch your wrist. Repeat five times with each hand.
These stretches will help, but if your hands are very sore, you might want to try over-the-counter pain relief creams which can work well on the hands where the joints are close to the skin. Some of these contain counterirritants such as menthol, camphor, eucalyptus oil and cinnamon oil that warm or cool the skin and distract the brain from the pain.
Take some time out to pamper yourself. You work hard in a static position and, as the advertisements say, you’re worth it! When my shoulders and back are sore I don’t think twice about getting a massage. A hot stone massage is sublime and will make all those aches and pains melt away. It may sound self-indulgent, but regular manicures will keep your nails in good condition and the hand and forearm massage will relax you.
Follow these tips and protect your hands from injury and pain.