Ask anyone who spends the majority of their work day typing at a computer. Whether they are writing the Great American Novel or drafting intricate legal briefs, their wrists take the brunt of the workload – sometimes resulting in the debilitating pain, tingling and numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Typing is not the only culprit. Knitters, artists, long-haul drivers, wood workers, anyone who works with small instruments or vibrating equipment has an increased risk for carpal tunnel syndrome – especially if there is a pre-existing pain or weakness in their wrists.
• Stay at a healthy weight and try to control other conditions such as arthritis and diabetes; avoid smoking.
• Think about your daily routine and evaluate it for activities that increase your risk.
• Try to arrange your activity and work space using ergonomic guidelines – set up an ergonomic, body-friendly workstation which includes the placement of your desk and computer monitor, the choice of a comfortable chair and the use of a specially designed wrist-rest near your keyboard.
• Efficient, proper body mechanics are one of the keys to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Check your posture. Sit up straight! If you don’t, your shoulders tend to roll forward causing your neck and shoulder muscles to shorten, compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
• Relax your grip! Most of us use more force than needed to perform even everyday tasks.
• Take a break…frequently! Get up from your chair, do something else, rest, stretch, change positions, shake, bend or stretch your hands and fingers often.
• Keep your hands warm. Fingerless mitts that allow movement of the fingers while warming the hands and wrists are popular…try a pair…especially if you are unable to control the temperature of your work environment!
If you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, call Dr. Kimmel for a consultation.