People who work at desk jobs often experience carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motions such as typing. Here are five tips for prevention.
Carpal tunnel syndrome basics
Do you have a desk job? You may think your body is safe in an office. After all, you don’t have to drive, and there is rarely (if ever) any heavy lifting. However, typing and using a mouse make you vulnerable to developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
CTS is a condition that takes place when the nerve extending between the palm and forearm, the median nerve, experiences sustained compression as it goes through the wrist. This nerve passes pain and other sensory signals from the front of the thumb and middle three fingers to the brain. If the tendons become irritated or other inflammation occurs, there is less space for the median nerve. With the nerve under pressure, pain, loss of feeling, and lack of strength may occur in the wrist and hand.
Notably, women are particularly at risk for this condition simply because their carpal tunnel is narrower. They are actually 200% likelier to be diagnosed with CTS than men are.
Tips to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome at work
The most important thing to remember about CTS is that it is often caused by mouse and keyboard use. Making simple modifications to your workstation and daily routine can help you keep this condition from developing or becoming worse:
- Positioning: Change the way your desk and chair are arranged so that your setup is ergonomic. When seated, you want your knees at right angles, feet flat on the ground. Similarly, your elbows should be at right angles so that your arms can naturally access the keyboard. Make sure your monitor is just below eye level.
- Padding: Get a pad to stretch across the base of the keyboard so that your wrists remain neutral and the nerve isn’t compressed.
- Keyboard upgrade: It often helps to purchase an ergonomic keyboard, which also aligns your body in the correct position when typing.
- Wrist-friendly mouse: The traditional mouse may cause restriction at the wrist. Consider getting yourself a vertical mouse.
- Regular breaks: Finally, stopping to stretch your arms, wrists, and hands on a regular basis (at least every 60 minutes, although ideally every half-hour) is critical.
Fast & safe recovery
Are you experiencing the pain and lost quality-of-life that comes with carpal tunnel syndrome? At Advanced Wellness & Rehab, we provide solutions for resolving painful health issues in a personalized and caring manner. See our New Patient Offer.