Don't Let That Desk Job Saddled You With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Are you worried your desk job is causing long-term damage to your hands and wrists? Even if you already have mild symptoms, t

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common issue that can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the fingers and thumb. This disorder develops when tendons in your wrist swell and put pressure on the median nerve where it enters your hand through a small area known as the carpal tunnel.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop due to swelling and inflammation in your wrists caused by injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and repetitive motions at the workplace.

Dr. Thomas Saylor of  Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, FL, offers the following ways to relieve repetitive stress at the office. And, if you already have carpal tunnel symptoms, they can give you state-of-the-art treatments.

Pay attention to workplace ergonomics

When you spend a significant amount of time sitting in front of a computer, it’s easy to forget about the importance of proper ergonomics. But, good workplace ergonomics can help reduce repetitive stress injuries.

To avoid putting excess strain on your hands and wrists, make sure your keyboard is positioned level to your forearms. This approach can help encourage a neutral wrist position and also help avoid unnatural, stressful wrist flexing while typing. You should also sit with your feet planted firmly on the floor and position your screen an arm’s length to encourage good posture.

Pay attention to your posture and position

It’s essential to practice good posture and be aware of your arm and hand positions while working. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or walking, rounded shoulders or a hunched back can put excess strain on your body, including your arms, wrists, and hands.

While you’re working, be sure to keep your shoulders squared, your chin parallel to the floor, and your arms in a relaxed position. Avoid gripping objects tightly, such as your phone or pens, and don’t rest your wrists on your desk when typing or using your mouse. 

Instead, keep a relaxed hand position that allows your fingers to float above your keyboard while moving your entire arm. Remember, when you rest your wrist in one place, you have to twist your hands and fingers in awkward positions to strike the keys to type, which causes unnecessary stress.

Avoid the strain in repetitive tasks 

It’s not always realistic to avoid repetitive tasks, especially in the workplace. But, you can reduce the stress they cause by taking frequent breaks to rest your hands or by redesigning how you perform the tasks. For example, try switching the hands you use to do specific actions and avoid keyboard movements that contort your fingers.

Additional strategies for avoiding the strain caused by repetitive tasks include relaxing your grip on objects and using a larger pen while writing to encourage a more relaxed hand position. 

Don’t forget to exercise 

When it comes to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, daily exercises can help stretch muscles and tendons in your wrists to reduce carpal nerve inflammation and constriction. 

For a simple wrist stretch, start by holding your arms out straight in front of you with your fingers extended and palms pointing toward the ground. Then, slowly raise your hands with your palms facing away from you — as though you’re signaling “stop” — and hold for five seconds. Next, return your hands to the starting position with your palms facing the ground before making a fist. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat it from the beginning. For the best results, repeat the series 10 times in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of your day.

Additional exercises that can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome include squeezing a soft rubber ball for five seconds to strengthen your grip or practicing yoga to tone your upper body and improve your posture.

To reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome or to find treatment options, call Orthopaedic Care Specialists at  561-840-1090 , or request an appointment online.

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