Avoid Carpal Tunnel and Other Orthopaedic Issues With These Workplace Tips

Carpal tunnel describes a condition that includes numbness and tingling in your hand and fingers, pain that radiates up your arm, and weakness in the hand’s pinching muscles. The discomfort interferes with sleep, driving, and many workplace tasks.

If you have a job that involves repetitive hand movements, such as using a sander, working with small instruments, regular typing, or knitting you’re at increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. The condition happens when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm through your wrist into your hand, becomes compressed. Narrowing of the carpal tunnel, due to inflammation, causes the compression.

Don’t wait for the pain to overwhelm you before taking steps to treat the condition. Manage health conditions, such as diabetes, and maintain a healthy weight – both factors that increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Also, become aware of how you use your hands and equipment throughout the day when you’re on the job. Small changes can go a long way in preventing the development or progression of carpal tunnel syndrome.

An ergonomic work area promotes good wrist and forearm position, which can help prevent carpal tunnel and other orthopedic issues in your elbows and shoulders.

Center your work

Always ensure your workstation at which your write or type is centered in front of you. Keep your work as low as possible – but don’t let it sit on your legs. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor or slightly lower. If you stand – keep your workstation at waist height.

Hold your elbows close to your sides and avoid leaning onto your hands.

Keep your arms and wrists in alignment

When typing, keep your hands and wrists in line with your forearms. A tilted keyboard helps you keep this alignment. When holding a computer mouse, keep your wrist neutral – meaning it does not cave down or arch up while you move the instrument. Maintain a neutral wrist when using other work tools, too.

Rest regularly

Take frequent breaks when at your job. If, for example, you have a data entry job, give yourself a break at least every hour – preferably more often. Rest your hands, roll out your wrists front and back and side to side, and take a walk to grab a drink at the water cooler.

Do exercises to relieve the wrist

Stretching exercises performed at your desk or workstation helps relieve tension in the wrists that lead to inflammation. Open your fingers wide for a few seconds and then relax them; repeat several times. Pull your thumb back gently to stretch it and release; also repeat several times. Place your hands in a prayer position at your chest below your chin. Keep the palms pressed together as you lower your hands down toward your abdomen to feel a stretch in your forearms and wrists. Keep the position for 15-30 seconds and repeat another time or two.

If you suspect you have carpal tunnel, don’t hesitate to check-in. Call Orthopaedic Associates of Reading or request an appointment online so our team of orthopaedic specialists can prevent further progression of the condition.

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