Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Recently, there has been a lot of attention to Carpal Tunnel. Even the Harvard Medical School published a report in which it addressed carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes tingling, numbness and pain in the hand and fingers. It occurs when the median nerve that runs from the forearm to hand becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist area. This nerve is what controls the sensations in the thumb, first three fingers (excluding the little finger) and the palm. It also is the nerve that controls impulses in the smaller muscle groups in the hand that allow movement. The carpal tunnel itself is a rigid, narrow channel of ligaments and bone. It lies at the base of the hand, housing most of the median nerve and tendons.

Carpal Tunnel has recently been thought of as one of the fastest growing injuries in the workplace. It is true that many people who work long hours at a keyboard develop a painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, studies have found no relationship between carpal tunnel syndrome and office-type work. There are a number of causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some people get chronic pain such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome from normal wear and tear of the body or from aging. Video game addiction can lead to Carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome commonly occurs during pregnancy, menapause or result of repetitive typing. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the foot version of the carpal tunnel syndrome, it is common with people who are flat footed.

The best ergonomic computer chair will help prevent many health conditions such as backaches, neck stress and carpal tunnel syndrome. Having a properly adjusted keyboard tray greatly reduces your risks of developing carpal tunnel.

Here are some additional tips that when combined together, can help you to reduce your chances of having to deal with carpal tunnel in the future.

TIP #1 Exercise – Stretching exercises can help prevent carpal tunnel by increasing circulation to the area which can keep the tendons and ligaments from swelling.

TIP #2 Frequent Breaks – Taking frequent breaks will give your body a break. It will break up the activity and keep the tendons and ligaments from becoming inflamed.

TIP #3 Posture – Maintaining good posture and proper wrist position can reduce pressure on the wrist area and prevent inflammation and swelling.

TIP #4 Support – Wearing splints can help keep your wrists straight and in the proper position.

TIP #5 Keep Your Hands Warm – Wear fingerless gloves. This will keep your hands warm and flexible, creating optimum circulation in the hand and wrist area.

TIP #6 Workplace Modifications

1. Tools and tool handles can be redesigned to keep the worker’s wrist in a more natural position.

2. Redesign workstations and tasks to be more conducive to natural positioning of the worker’s wrists.

3. Rotating jobs and tasks among workers can reduce repetitive activity and give workers a break.

4. Employers can develop programs that adapt conditions and tasks of the workplace environment.

I hope that you found this article useful and that you will now make a concerted effort to make sure that you have good posture, take breaks often, and try to stay in optimal health.