Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when we spend a lot of time doing things that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements. This can include common work activities like typing and using a mouse, hobbies like knitting, or more strenuous physical labor like using a screwdriver or operating power tools. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can also be caused by an injury, or fluid retention that’s common during pregnancy.
The Carpal Tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist where ligaments, tendons and nerves pass through. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a combination of pain and tingly sensations that occur when the median nerve, which runs from the hand to the forearm, becomes pressed or squeezed.
Here are four ways to help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Take Care of Yourself
Does this seem a little obvious? I think so, too, but the state of health among the people in our country can make you think otherwise. If you exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, maintain your optimal weight and avoid smoking, you can lessen the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as well as dozens of other diseases and chronic conditions.
Use Good Posture and Body Mechanics
We can promote good circulation and nerve function in the wrists and hands by keeping the neck flexible and the head upright. If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, sit with your back against the chair, shoulders relaxed, wrists straight, feet flat on the floor or a footrest, and your computer monitor at eye level. If you’re not sitting, always try to keep your back straight, and use your body weight to push or pull an object to avoid putting undue pressure on your joints.
Use Ergonomically Designed Equipment
If you’re sitting at a desk, it’s much easier to maintain the positions discussed above if you take advantage of office ergonomics. Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment, especially for the workplace, to maximize productivity while reducing fatigue and discomfort. To make your workstation ergonomically sound, try the 60-second Workstation Evaluation.
Ergonomic chairs, keyboards, and padding for your keyboard and mouse can help to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as well as back, neck and shoulder pain. Many hand tools and power tools have also incorporated ergonomic design to reduce stress on the user.
Take Frequent Breaks
Powering through aches, pains and fatigue does not make you more productive. When you take regular, short breaks, the time spent working is much more productive. To help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, use breaks to rest, stretch, or move to a different activity.
To stretch your hands and wrists, extend your arms in front of you and bend your hands up as if you were pushing against a wall. Then straighten both wrists and relax your fingers. Make a tight fist with both hands, then bend both wrists down while keeping the fist. Finally, straighten both wrists and relax your fingers. Hold each position for a few seconds. Repeat these steps about 10 times, and then let your arms hang loosely at your side and shake them for a few seconds.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can mimic pain coming from the neck and arm, so it’s important to have the conditions properly diagnosed and treated. Nutritional care, bracing and proper therapy can treat the condition effectively in most cases and so you can avoid surgery.
If you suspect that you may be feeling the effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please contact us to schedule a consultation, and let us help you take your health back.