One of the blog requests I’ve gotten from a Facebook fan is for help with hand and arm pain. This is a topic on which it seemed like a good idea to find some information from someone who studied it. I discovered the Wrist-Assist through networking with other professionals and decided to treat myself to one for Christmas. It has been a dream for me and so with it being so perfect, the inventor, Robin Stopper Renner, had to have done some homework on pain, right?!
Here is my interview with her:
Robin, why would a nail professional’s hands hurt all the time and what can be done about it?
The detailed nature of our work as nail professionals requires us to stabilize and angle our client's fingers in awkward positions. We try to achieve this by lifting, twisting, and gripping our client's hands and fingers. These movements put extreme strain on our supporting hand and wrist. Our dominant hand tends to grasp tools tight and rest on the edge of a hard work surface cutting off circulation. These repeated motions for prolonged periods of time can lead to many different types of injuries.
· Train your clients to relax and use a Wrist-Assist tool to raise and support the client hands and fingers.
· Minimize your grip. The forearms should be at or below horizontal position (90 degrees or greater) to increase blood flow and decrease strain.
· Try to keep your wrist in a neutral (straight) position and move the client's hands and fingers by using the larger muscles of your arm and elbow.
· Take short breaks to rest and stretch.
· Use tools that properly fit your hand size.
· Share the load with your non-dominant hand.
· Wear splints at night, if necessary.
Does posture when working have anything to do with hand or arm pain?
It can. Most nail professionals slouch with a head-forward posture; their arms stretched forward reaching for their client's hands. Slouching can shorten and tighten the front muscles and weaken the back muscles. This can block the blood flow and nerve signals to and from the arms. The head forward posture can lead to neck strain, a spasm of the neck muscles, or swelling of the neck joints. These conditions in the neck can cause pain to travel to the arm. There are many conditions that can cause arm pain. The most common repetitive strain injuries are tendinitis and bursitis.
· Train your clients to come to you instead of reaching for them. The Wrist-Assist tool rolls forward and backward so you can bring your clients as close as you need to maintain good posture.
· Do exercises that stretch the front muscles and strengthen the back and core muscles.
· Wear a back brace to support the back.
· Sit up straight with the base of the spine at a 90 degree angle with the head neck and body facing forward.
· Feet should be flat on the floor and shoulders relaxed.
· Try not to bend the neck at more than a 45 degree angle.
· If you answer the phone while working, consider using a headset.
· Take short breaks to rest and stretch.
For a new technician, what could they do to prevent getting the arm and hand pain from the beginning of their career?
Don't wait until the pain starts to take action. Get into good habits early in your career. Most repetitive strain injuries are the result of unhealthy long term habits. Train your clients to relax so you can put them where you need them. Remember, you are sitting for many hours in this position. They are only there for a maximum of a couple hours.
What are the benefits of the Wrist-Assist?
I developed this tool after being a nail professional for 13 years. The pain that I was experiencing was about to end my career. I was spending as much money on massages and chiropractors as I was making. I would experience some relief until I started working in the same awkward position again. I realized I needed a tool that would take this strain out of my sore, tired muscles. I put my first prototype to use in 1998 and experienced immediate relief. My clients were more comfortable and relaxed because they knew exactly where I needed them to place their hands. The strain in my supporting hand was relieved due to the tool raising and stabilizing the clients hand with no effort on my part. I could also sit up straighter by rolling their hands towards me instead of reaching forward for them. The final touch was the multi-directional pad that allows movement in all directions without having to lift the client's hands. The benefits I have experienced from using this tool are immeasurable. I'm proud to say that I am still an active nail professional after 26 years! My goal is to do nails for another 26 years, and instruct other professionals on how to have a long and healthy career using proper ergonomics and the Wrist-Assist.
NAILS has done an article on “Hurting Hands” that some of you may have missed, or maybe at that time you didn’t think it applied to you. Prevention is so worthwhile! Please be sure to visit the article for some more information - http://www.nailsmag.com/article/40757/hurting-hands
My Facebook fans requested a video to better understand how to use a Wrist-Assist so here it is for all of you as well:
Valentine’s Day is meant to be a celebration of love, who says you can’t celebrate by loving yourself enough to take care of you! To help you, Robin has been kind enough to offer free shipping in the US for the first 20 Wrist-Assist orders on Valentine’s Day! The Wrist-Assist page link is always on the left hand of this blog, for your convenience!