Give Your Hands a Break from Carpal Tunnel
Computer usage used to be primarily reserved for office workers, but now nearly every American, from school-age children to retirees, have access to this technology—and a chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. While there are other ways to develop carpal tunnel, continuous typing and computer mouse-usage are most common.
Carpal tunnel is caused by the pinching or squeezing of the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm, and results in weakness, numbness, and/or pain in the hand, wrist, and even forearm. Sufferers may have difficulty forming a fist, gripping things, and performing other manual activities.
Prevent yourself from developing carpal tunnel with these simple tips:
- Stay healthy
A healthy lifestyle is step one to avoiding carpal tunnel. You’re at greater risk of developing it if you smoke, which decreases blood flow and aggravates symptoms, or are overweight, which often decreases nerve message speed and activity level.
- Shake it out
Reduce any built-up muscle tension or nerve swelling and increase circulation by gently shaking your wrists for one to two minutes while standing and relaxed.
- Take a break
If you perform repetitive tasks—like constant writing, typing, or mouse usage—take frequent breaks throughout the day or change how you perform the task to let overused muscles and nerves rest.
- Optimize your workspace
Fortunately, there are a number of ergonomic computer accessories designed to take the pressure off your body. Investing in a mousepad with wrist support, a vertical mouse, an ergonomic keyboard, or the proper chair will go a long way to preventing carpal tunnel.
- Don’t force it
Many people use significantly more force to accomplish small tasks than necessary. Next time you’re holding a pen or typing on a keyboard, make a conscious effort to loosen your grip or decrease your force.
- Stay warm
Keep finger stiffness at bay by keeping your hands warm. If you’re in a cold environment, you may want to consider wearing fingerless gloves to keep things loose.
Whether you work in an office, spend a lot of personal time using a computer, or perform any other activity that puts you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, these small changes can make a big difference. If you’re concerned about carpal tunnel syndrome—or any other orthopedic issue—contact Orlin & Cohen, Long Island’s top orthopedic team. Immediate appointments are available: Request yours now.