carpal tunnel- microtome handle suggestion

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:"Kathy Oprea" <>
Date:Wed, 12 May 1999 11:53:02 EST
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Hi all,
My histology experience totals 21 years. After 10 years in the field 
I began waking up during the night to find my right hand numb. I 
ignored it until I started experiencing pain in my wrist and hand. I 
continued to ignore it until about 5 years ago I noticed that when I 
touched something sharp it didn't hurt! Only then did I realize that 
my right hand had lost considerable feeling. This was enough to scare 
me into going to a doctor. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel. I 
resisted surgery, instead trying medications and excersize. Then was 
sent to a physical therapist. Finally I had to give in to surgery. In 
the mean time I started becoming aware of ergonomics for the lab. 
Some modifications that have been made by our lab are- to put a 
tennis ball on the handles of our manual microtomes to increase the 
size your holding onto while sectioning. You will be surprised at the 
difference this makes. We are gradually replacing manual microtomes 
with automated that use a foot pedal. We bought new chairs that are 
easily adjusted (from Fisher). I am sure there are other companies 
you could check with. There was a drawer built into the counters 
where our work stations are (between your lap and microtome) We had 
these removed so we could sit erect and level (closer) with the 
microtome. I have seen adjustable work benches at NSH that can be 
purchased. For folks with short legs we have foot rest. Nothing 
fancy. I offer a wrist brace to histotechs that have the limp wrist 
technique, when sectioning. The brace forces them to keep their wrist 
straight. Being a right handed person I am forcing myself to remember 
that I have a left hand, and training myself to use my left hand 
instead of my right as much as possible. I am convinced that we 
histologist are more ambidextrous than most folks. To sum up, there 
are ways to improve ergonomics in the lab without spending alot of 
money. Hope this info is useful to someone out there.
Oh yes, I also wear a magnetic bracelet now and swear by it.
Have a great day!
************ Thank you ************
* Kathy Oprea                     *
* University of Georgia           *
* College of Veterinary Medicine  *
* Athens, GA 30602-7388           *
*         *
The worker who's never said "Thank
God it's Friday," probably never
really worked.

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>