Email list hosting service & mailing list manager

Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work (5 messages) Birdie MacLennan 14 Feb 1996 22:30 UTC

5 messages, 167 lines:

Date:         Wed, 14 Feb 1996 11:26:00 PST
From:         "LaJudice, Rose" <RLajudic@HS1.BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

Dear Anne,

I have a touch of carpal tunnel due to the fact that I was a
Dental Hygienist  for 15 years, then switched to medical word
processing and noticed the symptoms eased.  I have worked at
the library for 2 years and in the past several weeks the carpal
tunnel has become somewhat worse.  I have tingling feeling and
numbness esp. upon waking up in the morning or trying to get to
sleep.  My arms will actually go numb.

I plan to contact Physical Rehab a Dept. I worked for in the
past (I work at hospita).  I believe there must be some
exercises that will help the syndrome.

You do shelving solo?  How big is your library?  There is no way I
could do all the shelving.  There are days with full staff that I do
all the shelving.  There are days even with full staff that I spend
2 hrs shelving.

We have volunteers that come in and they are a great help in that area.
Is there anyway you can obtain more than 1 student to work/or volunteer?
I would believe that that amount of shelving esp. with the heavy books
would do some damage over the years.  Good luck.

Rose M. LaJudice
A.H. Aaron Health Science Library
Buffalo, NY

Date:         Wed, 14 Feb 1996 12:29:31 -0500
From:         Esther Sleep <esleep@SPARTAN.AC.BROCKU.CA>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

Dear Anne Grady:

Yes, I know what you mean.  I have worked in libraries for about 35 years -
I started shelving at the age of 15!

1. For keyboarding on the terminal I have a keyboard pad under the keyboard;
this means my wrists rest on a pad.  Since getting this 15 months ago I have
had no more problems at the terminal.

2.  If I must shelve now I try to break up the shelving time and do
something else in between shelving periods; I used to grab great arm loads
but now tend to carry smaller amounts; when shelving over my head I now use
both hands to support the volume.

3.  Instead of hiring one student hire two or more for fewer hours each;
students are hired for ten hours a week only so this helps.

4.  I know some people use wrist supports which are similar to tensor bands,
obtained from a drug store.

5.  There are exercises which help the neck and shoulder problems; these I
learned in physical therapy.

It is a problem with no absolute answers and shelving must be done.  Hope
this helps.

Esther L. Sleep
Head, Serials Dept.
Brock University Library
St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1
Phone:   905-688-5550, Ext. 3266
Fax:     905-988-5490

Date:         Wed, 14 Feb 1996 13:39:13 GMT
From:         "Parke, Vicki M" <MSMAIL.VPARKE@RANCH.STATE.ND.US>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

I was involved in setting up a lecture on carpal tunnel syndrome and related
health problems.  I also toured the library with the physical therapists
while she evaluated some workstations.  I'll share what I learned that day.

In regards to shelving, the main point is not to lift too much at once.
Even if it seems silly to lift only a little at a time, do it.  You will be
able to work longer if you don't push yourself to get it all done at once.
Also, whenever you need to shelve something on the top two rows, use a step
stool.  It is a real pain to keep pushing one around with you, or to be
continually hunting up one, but it is worth it in the long run.

Take a critical look at your workstation.  There may be ways you can improve
it even without spending money.  Examine the actions you make which cause
strain, is there anyway you can rearrange your work area to eliminate or
reduce these motions?  Especially watch out for twisting motions.  Change
the height of your chair, if needed.  Your eyes should be level with the top
couple of inches of the computer screen and if this raises your feet off the
ground you'll need to use a footrest (box tops work great if you can't get
anything else).

Think about every action you make and look for ways to make it easier on
yourself.  Take frequent stretch breaks.  Nothing long, just a few seconds
where you stretch your muscles.  We stretch before we exercise, so why not
stretch before we work?

Lastly, there is (or at least was) a carpal tunnel listserv.  It would be a
good place to look for some practical advice.

Vicki Parke
North Dakota State Library

Date:         Wed, 14 Feb 1996 11:46:00 PST
From:         Kathleen Thorne <KATHLEEN@SJSUVM1.BITNET>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work
In-Reply-To:  Message of Tue, 13 Feb 1996 17:49:03 EST from

What about hiring a MALE workstudy student to do the shelving?  Or shelve
only in 1-hr. increments ... pick up volumes one at a time with both hands
 ... all things we have done/taught students/heard from physical therapists
over the years.  Sorry, I don't know about the sex/size/makeup of your
university, but it seems to me there should be some sharing of all this

Is it really carpal tunnel, or simply sore muscles from suddenly doing a
very physical task that the student is unused to? There's a definite

With typing/computer work: we've decided maybe the best training for that
(in order to avoid carpal tunnel problems) is piano playing: you learn to
keep your wrists up, and can work for hours without any strain.

Maybe you can get someone (do you have a physical therapist on campus?) to
come in and watch and do some evaluation for you; sometimes someone like that
can suggest ways to avoid physical stress.

Speaking of which: the desk they've given me in my exiled position the last
7 months is too high, and even half an hour of reading/answering e-mail is
enough to make my shoulders and neck ache for the rest of the day!!

Good luck!!

Kathleen Thorne
Serials cataloger in exile
San Jose State University

Date:         Wed, 14 Feb 1996 15:46:31 -0800
From:         David James <David.James@JHU.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Carpal tunnel and serials work

There is an excellent book on the subject:  Repetitive Strain Injury: a
computer users guide by Emil Pascarelli and Deborah Quilter (Wiley,
1994).  We have had considerable problems, but more in Monographs than in
Serials.  At one point we had so many people going around in splints it
looked like a hospital here.

David Willis James                      Phone:  (410) 516-8332
Head of Acquisitions                    Fax:  (410) 516-8928
The Milton S. Eisenhower Library        The Johns Hopkins University