Posted by: ugleepen | November 22, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Part 2 – Nip It In the Bud

budIn Part 1 of our two-part article about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) we looked at basic symptoms of the syndrome, the causes, and some of the, perhaps surprising, jobs that are high risk for developing CTS.

Here in Part 2 we will continue our discussion of risky activities, and then look at ways of preventing, or at least minimizing, the impact of CTS.

If you are retired don’t think you’re exempt from developing CTS.

People who engage intensively in these domestic activities are at risk for CTS:

  • knitting, sewing and needlepoint
  • cooking and housework
  • carpentry and other types of woodworking
  • extensive use of power tools

Many leisure activities in the home can contribute to the development of CTS, including:

  • computer games
  • sports
  • card playing

So much for the bad news – now for the good. Here are some tips for “nipping CTS in the bud.”

The first thing is to be aware that you are involved in high-risk activities for CTS.

Then there are ways to give your hand and wrist relief:

  1. Take frequent breaks to rest and relax the hand and wrist
  2. Give the hand a rest by learning how to use your non-dominate hand
  3. Learn easy exercises to strengthen the wrist
  4. Use good ergonomics in the workplace

Whenever you write, whether its something you do a lot for a living, or just writing your grocery list, use an ergonomic pen  such as my UGLee Pen.

A pen such as mine will be a rest for the hand, and thus won’t aggravate CTS, or cause added stress and strain on the hand.

Any time you can let your hand and wrist rest, no matter what activity you are involved in, you’ll diminish the opportunity for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome to surface.


Posted by: ugleepen | November 10, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Part 1 – Surprising At-Risk Jobs

renton-737-moving-line-opening-2002Do you do work that causes repeated stress on your hand and wrist?

If so, you would be wise to watch for symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) – aching, pain, tingling, numbness – and nip it in the bud.

Researchers have defined six key risk factors in the workplace for the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

(1) repetition

(2) high force

(3) awkward joint posture

(4) direct pressure

(5) vibration

(6) prolonged constrained posture

Recent work place studies show that jobs that are high risk for CTS include occupations that combine force and repetition of the same motion in the fingers and hand for long periods.

Such workers include:

  • meat and fish packing industries
  • workers using vibrating tools, such as jackhammers and chain saws.
  • assembly lines, from assembling airplanes to food and beverage processing
  • cake decorators
  • postal workers
  • dentists and dental technicians.

And, most people are aware that office workers using computer keyboards, and the computer mouse, are developing CTS.

Many of these workers may not even be aware of the amount of force they exert while performing their jobs. For example, the fingers of typists whose speed is 60 words per minute exert up to 25 tons of pressure each day – can you believe it?

Posted by: ugleepen | October 25, 2016

Teens Say They Are Stronger Than Their Arthritis

logan-lentini-juvenile-arthritis-sibling“The Juvenile Arthritis (JA) Conference, sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, was created to give people the opportunity to discover that Juvenile Arthritis doesn’t define us, it doesn’t control us and it doesn’t stop us,” said Colleen Ryan, 2016 JA Conference Chair.

“Together we build each other up, hold one another’s hands, are a shoulder to cry on and a much needed sounding board. Together we are strong. Together we are tough. Together, we are champions!”

Teens at the 2016 Conference held this summer were asked how they would describe the way they are stronger than their disease.

Alexis Fox was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) when she was just 13 months old. With an avid love of gymnastics, music and art, she pursued competitive gymnastics up until she was 12 and her rheumatologist recommended she quit altogether.

Cortisone shots were not enough, and the impact of the sport she loved was causing pain and flares. Alexis battled bouts of depression, but found her way back through art and music.

“Me being stronger than my arthritis wasn’t a choice – I knew it’s what I had to be, “ said Alexis.

For Grace Burns, her JIA diagnosis also came early, when she was 20 months old. “When I was first diagnosed my parents were told I wouldn’t be able to play sports, but at 5 I started player soccer and haven’t stopped! I play lacrosse as well.”

The moment Grace says she realized she was stronger then arthritis was when she was able to play -and score – in an important tournament with her soccer team.

“I know no matter what happens in life I will always fight and be strong,” says Grace..”My parents tell me how strong I am but at that moment I knew for myself – I am stronger than this disease!”

Grace says, ”I want children to know they don’t have to give up on their dreams. I didn’t any examples of kids with JIA around me growing up.

“If one child is listening, can hear my story and say, “Guess what, I’m not giving up, I’m going to do my own thing and I’m a fighter!” then I can be happy that we all don’t suffer with JIA for nothing. We can all make a difference.”


Source: Arthritis Foundation


Posted by: ugleepen | October 13, 2016

How Did “Ergonomics” Come About?

nemOctober has been designated as National Ergonomics Month to help make workers and employers more aware of the importance of workplace ergonomics.

What is Ergonomics? Ergonomics is the study of the kind of work you do, the environment you work in, and the tools you use to do your job.

Why are ergonomics important? Ergonomics can help you be more comfortable at work. It can help lower stress and injury caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks, whether you sit at a desk, stand at an assembly line, or use heavy equipment outdoors.

The association between occupations and musculoskeletal injuries was documented centuries ago. Bernardino Ramazinni wrote about work-related complaints that he saw in his medical practice in 1713.

Wojciech Jastrzebowski, a Polish scholar, created the word “ergonomics” in 1857, combing the Greek words ergon (work or labor) and nomos (natural laws).

Scientific Management, an ergonomic method that improved worker efficiency by improving the job process, became popular in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Frederick W. Taylor was a pioneer of this approach and evaluated jobs to determine the “One Best Way” they could be performed.

For example, at Bethlehem Steel Taylor dramatically increased worker production and wages in a shoveling task by matching the shovel with the type of material that was being moved (ashes, coal or ore).

World War II prompted greater interest in human-machine interaction as the efficiency of sophisticated military equipment (i.e., airplanes) could be compromised by bad or confusing design.

After World War II, the focus of concern expanded to include worker safety as well as productivity.

Areas of knowledge that involved human behavior and attributes (i.e., decision making process, organization design, human perception relative to design) became known as cognitive ergonomics or human factors.

Areas of knowledge that involved physical aspects of the workplace and human abilities such as force required to lift, vibration and reaches became known as industrial ergonomics or ergonomics.


Source: WebMD

Source: ErgoWeb

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Posted by: ugleepen | September 25, 2016

Is Texting and Gaming an Arthritis Timebomb?

mobile-phones-make-users-selfishFifty years or older is usually the average age bracket for developing arthritis, but now experts say that has been lowered.

Hand surgeon Dr. Mark Ciaglia says that he is seeing more patients 40 years old and younger dealing with painful inflammation and stiffness in their joints.

It is the hours spent each day texting and gaming  that are dooming our younger people to develop arthritis early, Ciaglia feels.

“With the advent of texting and video games and excessive use of computers and typing you’re wearing the joints out sooner so we’re actually seeing a shift in the demographics of patients that get  arthritis because they’re just wearing their joints out so much sooner,” Ciaglia, who works at Woodlands Center for Specialty Surgery in Texas, said.

Developing arthritis from texting, emailing and playing games has to do with the continuous motion of your fingers, and what is known as repetitive stress syndrome.

Those activities put a lot of strain on joints, tendons and muscles –creating a recipe for painful inflammation and stiff joints.

“At the end of the day it’s a wear and tear how many times are you moving a joint back and forth where the cartilage that covers the bone within the joint,” said Ciaglia.

‘The more often you do this and the more aggressive you are with it the sooner you will develop arthritis-like symptoms.”

Studies have shown that the average teenager now sends some 3,340 text message a month – that is about 50 a day.

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that middle-school and high-school students spend, on average, 95 minutes of the day texting.

“One of the most common places where we see arthritis from repetitive hand use is at the base of the thumb,”said Dr. Nanavat,  Kaiser Family Foundations’s

“This type of injury may cause shooting pain that radiates up the forearm.”

Dr. Ciaglia understands that it is impossible for us to stop moving our fingers, but says “all good things in moderation.”


Source: Stacy Liberatore

Photo Credit

Posted by: ugleepen | September 15, 2016

The Ergonomic UGLee Pen – Explained!

about-the-ultimate-grip-pen-1Holding the pen too hard?!  That was me, 100%.  I used to have a callus on my middle finger the size of a pea.

And yes, all stemming from the pencils that they make us use in grade school.

Typically, the reason for holding the pen hard is to minimize slippage of the writing instrument. You subconsciously do this by compressing the soft tissues of your fingers against the hard pen/pencil, pushing against bone to get the best transfer of writing movements.

This is great for hand-eye correlation, but torture to the actual tissues being compressed, not to mention the muscles doing the work of compressing.

I’ve made the UGLee Pen so that the shape of the grip itself does the bone-to-pen transfer, and the material does the gripping onto the soft tissues.

Minimal grip needed.

The brain will always call for minimal effort.  Over the course of about a week, most will start to notice that they have been subconsciously gripping with a lot less force.

If you go back to a regular pen, you will just about drop it when you write, because of the changed perception of what grip tension is needed.

This is why the UGLee Pen is such a great ergonomic pen.

The stress and pain that many experience when writing with a “regular” pen, is gone when you use the UGLee Pen!


I came across a wonderful article by arthritis journalist Carol Eustice in which she wrote of arthritis sufferers finding words of inspiration to help them meet the challenge of living a “normal” life.

Eustice explains that people with arthritis are challenged to stay motivated while dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, physical limitations, functional limitation,  and all of the other consequences of chronic disease.

“Each of us must find our own personal motivation- something or someone that inspires us to fight for a better quality of life,” says Eustice.

“But, on those days when we feel the burden of pain intensely,” Eustice continues, “sometimes just a few words – the right words –  are enough to jump start our spirit, rekindle our positivity, or simply allow us to realize that we are not alone.”

Below are five quotes that Eustice compiled, in hopes that one or more will resonate with you

  1. Permanence, perseverance and persistence – in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities – It is these that distinguish the strong soul from the weak.  Thomas Carlyle
  2. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.  Helen Keller
  3. Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from  an indomitable will.  Mahatma Gandhi
  4. Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.  Winston Churchill
  5. It does not matter how slow you go.  What matters is that you do not stop.  Confucius


Source: Carol Eustice – Very Well

Photo Credit

Posted by: ugleepen | August 9, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Ergonomics

smartfish_engage_ergonomic_keyboard_newsCarpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a painful condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist.

The  most common cause of CTS is repetitive use/overuse of the fingers, hands, wrists and upper extremities.

CTS can be prevented, especially by utilizing proper ergonomics in the workplace.

Most people who work at a desk utilize a computer with its associated monitor and keyboard. The proper placement, height, type and design of each these is very important.

There are specialized types of “split” keyboards that can help prevent poor mechanics, such as the wrists being too flexed. Typing in a “wrist-neutral position” means working with the wrist “straight” and not too “bent up or down.”

Similarly, there is such a thing as an “ergonomically correct” computer mouse, which is, again, designed to put your hand in a more neutral position.

Other things you can do to help lessen the risk of CTS include:

  • Frequent breaks.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the hand, fingers, and arms.
  • Yoga and flexibility exercises.
  • Relaxing your grip on the mouse, and lightening your touch on the keyboard.

If you work for yourself, try to get ergonomically correct equipment, and utilize the suggestions above.

If you are employed, ask your employer if they could consider hiring an ergonomic specialist. Prevention of workplace injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome is less costly in the long run.


Source: Dr. Marc P. Pietropaoli 

Photo Credit

Posted by: ugleepen | July 22, 2016

Business Owners – Ergonomics Can Save You Money

BusinessOwner1_dt_18259345Are you a business owner concerned about the high cost to your company of lost work days, high employee turnover, and the ever increasing cost of health care benefits?

Fully one-third of all workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable with proper workplace ergonomics.

Ergonomics is defined as; “designing the job, equipment and tools to fit the worker, and fitting the worker to the job.”

Etgonomics expert Dr. Ken Kaufman states that the vast majority of ergonomic related injuries are completely preventable, saving your company significant money and lost work time

The most common work related ergonomic injuries such as, carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries and tendinitis are injuries of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and/or spinal discs.

“Fortunately, many of these cases can be prevented with the proper strategy and for a relatively small investment,” says Kaufman. Creating a prevention-conscious culture will go a long way in building strong participation in your injury prevention program.

The idea behind ergonomics is to simply reduce the stressors that contribute to the musculoskeletal and repetitive use injuries.

Most people recognize that setting up a workstation ergonomically is important in addition to proper lifting techniques.

However, its common to still see secretaries habitually holding the phone against their ear with their shoulder creating neck problems, or assembly workers performing the same movements over and over creating imbalanced muscle patterns that set the stage for injury.

In order to prevent this scenario, it is necessary to create a strategy that encourages and supports employees to look for ways to diminish the stressors in their home and work environment

For example: implementing a policy where individuals that perform phone work must utilize a headset, computer users have wrist supports, and cross-training assembly workers to rotate to different stations if possible to reduce the day-to-day repetitive motions they are exposed to.

For business leaders that are concerned about the high costs of health care and the recent health care reform legislation, the time is now to develop a comprehensive prevention strategy for the ergonomic injuries that are draining the profitability out of your business.

Source: Dr. Ken Kaufman

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Posted by: ugleepen | July 8, 2016

Fulbright Award for Studying Arthritis in Sweden

IversonNortheastern University in Boston has announced that Maura Iversen, pro­fessor and chair of the Depart­ment of Phys­ical Therapy, Move­ment and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Sci­ences, has received a Ful­bright award to work in Sweden during the 2016–17 aca­d­emic year.

She will launch a study to assess the phys­ical activity levels of chil­dren with juve­nile idio­pathic arthritis—the most common form of arthritis in chil­dren under 17.

Her study will include a cohort of Swedish chil­dren, assessing the level of mod­erate phys­ical activity they engaged in over the course of a week.

Iverson has created four different ques­tion­naires, being translated from English to Swedish, to learn about the impact of arthritis on func­tion, including phys­ical activity pat­terns.

“Juve­nile idio­pathic arthritis is the most chronic ill­ness in chil­dren, more so than dia­betes, and we know that phys­ical activity is an impor­tant com­po­nent of reg­u­lating the immune response and man­aging the dis­ease,” Iversen said.

Iversen will spend three months in spring 2017 at the Karolinska Insti­tute in Stock­holm for her Ful­bright, and she’ll be sur­veying chil­dren at Astrid Lindgren’s Children’s Hos­pital, which is affil­i­ated with the institute.

Why Sweden?

Sweden has estab­lished a system of national reg­istries that col­lect health­care data, allowing Iversen to poten­tially survey thou­sands of chil­dren with juve­nile idio­pathic arthritis.

Her hope is to be able to merge the ques­tion­naires into this reg­istry, thereby helping doc­tors in Sweden better track and assess children’s phys­ical activity over the long term.

“The goal is to ascer­tain how much phys­ical activity chil­dren are engaging in and to deter­mine if they are meeting, or exceeding, their tar­gets, and finally to assess the impact that has on the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease and children’s health outcomes,” Iverson explained.



Source: Northeastern University

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