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Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work (3 messages) Birdie MacLennan 14 Feb 1996 16:46 UTC

3 messages, 108 lines:

Date:         Tue, 13 Feb 1996 22:13:41 -0500
From:         Craig Fairley <fairley@TAP.NET>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

Anne Grady <AGrady@MAILBOX.UNE.EDU> wrote:
>I'm wondering if any other serials librarians and/or support
>staff are experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms, pain in
>wrists, fingers, hands, joints, arms, shoulders etc from
>shelving, processing mail and/or automated check-in?

I recently returned from a conference session that discussed repetitive
strain injuries in libraries.  There are a couple of things which came out
that may be of help to you:

1.  Variety in work helps.  The key is that the injury results in a
repetative action which eventually exceeds your body's tolerance.  Take
short breaks regularly to do another task.

2. Avoid the "pinch grip", that is, carrying  books/bound volumes with one
hand using just your thumb and fingers.  Use two hands to distribute the
weight.  Also use flat hands to cradle the materials.

3.  Short stretch breaks prevent you from tensing up your body, which can
happen with repetative motions.

4.  Use large muscle groups to do the work.  This is why people are told to
lift using the muscles in their legs rather than their backs.  Leg muscles
are much bigger.  The easiest thing to forget is that you need to lift with
your legs even for small things, like that pen you just dropped.

Hope that is of use to you.  If you need real help there are consultants and
trainers around who can help your organization.  Considering the high cost
of lost work time and disability claims,  it could be money well spent.

Craig Fairley
Information Dynamics
2165 Margot Street
Oakville, Ontario
L6H 3M5
(905) 842-1406

"Services in Information and Process Management"

Date:         Tue, 13 Feb 1996 17:12:36 -0700
From:         Elizabeth Boyson <alieb@GEMINI.OSCS.MONTANA.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

I have some experience with this. Let me tell you what helped me.
Limit shelving to once per week if possible, a really efficient way to
shelve. I know you can't possibly do that, but look for ways to
streamline the process. Do you do the pre-shelving sort as well as the
shelving? I found that really put a strain on my nerves.

Use anti-inflammatories as a doctor directs to control deterioration.
A simple aspirin might help a LOT! Also, do you have any scar tissue on
your wrists or elbows from other activities or injuries? That might be a
problem, too.

There are a lot of stretching exercises recommended to avoid the strain.
Take a look or search in some of the health journals your library
subscribes to.

I hope you find some answers.

Elizabeth Boyson                       Phone:406-994-5305
Montana State University - Bozeman     FAX:406-994-2851
Serials/Acquisitions                   Internet:
Renne Library
Bozeman, MT 59717

Date:         Wed, 14 Feb 1996 08:37:40 -0800
From:         Judy Winkler <jwinkler@NEON.NLC.STATE.NE.US>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

I would urge you to visit and orthepedic specialist ASAP. Carpal tunnel
is a major health hazard for library workers! I kept putting off a visit
to the doctor until my hand was so numb I could not hold a coffee cup or
pencil if I was not looking at it - carpal tunnel is degenerative,
meaning it gets worse and you begin to suffer irreparable nerve damage.
I have had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand but because I waited
too long to seek medical help, I've lost about 60% of the nerves in my
hand. This means I have to be very, very careful in the kitchen, because
if I cut myself, I don't feel any pain until the wound is deep enough to
be serious! The carpal tunnel in my left hand was not as severe and
responded to a treatment of anti-inflammitory medication and wrist
supports. I now take freqent breaks (stopping one repetitive activity
and changing to another) do mild hand and wrist exercises, use proper
ergonomic equipment, etc. Your doctor can give you other tips to help.

Also, you may not have carpal tunnel. If you are experiencing arm and
shoulder pain, you may have neck or back problems. The most important
thing is to seek proper medical attention, and let you employers know
that they have a reponsibility to provide a healthy work environment -
this includes ergonomic equipment - or they may be liable for worker's
compensation claims.

Judy Winkler
Technical Services Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission