Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) causes a lot of pain and frustration for many people. Repetitive motions lead to tingling, wrist and arm pain, and irritation that interferes with daily activity.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel?
Two major activities put people at risk of developing carpal tunnel:
Repetitive hand motions, like typing, clicking, writing, or other fine movements put excessive strain on the wrist and can lead to carpal tunnel.
Long periods of contact with vibration, such as driving or using power tools, can also irritate the wrist and lead to carpal tunnel.
Happily, you can take some steps to prevent carpal tunnel, even if you are risk!
How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel
Keep Your Hands Warm
Many offices are chilly, so if you are typing all day, your hands probably feel like ice. The cold can make your hands stiff and increase tension in your nerves. Try wearing fingerless gloves or asking if the office can be a few degrees warmer. You could also try keep a small space heater at your desk. If you work outside, wear thick gloves and keep your hands moving as much as possible.
Break up repetitive tasks with something different – take a 5 minute break to open mail, file papers, make a phone call. At the very least, stand up from your desk and take a short walk (even if it’s just across the hall!). Anything to rest your hands from their typical motions.
Change Your Workspace
Your workspace should be posture-friendly in order to relax strain. Your chair should allow you to sit with your feet flat on the floor and arms comfortably on the desk. It should also support your back. You can find tips for changing your desk in this ergonomic guide.
Improve Your Posture
Rolling your shoulders tightens your wrists and hands, increasing tension. Sit up straight, unroll your shoulders, and let your hands relax. Good posture will help the rest of your health too!
Tensing up or using excessive force can also irritate your wrists. Focus on using the lightest necessary touch and relaxing your hands and wrists. Practicing yoga or Pilates may help with both relaxing and posture.
Stretching your hands and wrists can loosen some of tension and relax the muscles. Stretching is great during short breaks from regular work, at lunch, and the beginning and end of the day. To start out, try these three wrist exercises.
If you already have carpal tunnel, chiropractic may be able to help! Ask Dr. Fiss about it at your next appointment.