Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has a variety of causes, and as a result proven prevention strategies have been difficult to develop. However, workstation changes to minimize the stress on your hands and wrists, such as proper lighting and seating and hand/wrist placement, can help decrease some factors that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Some prevention methods for the workplace include:

  • Type gently and relax your grip. For example, if your work involves significant time typing on a keyboard or operating a cash register, hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
  • Take frequent breaks. Gently stretch and bend hands and wrists periodically. When possible, alternate tasks. This is especially important if you use equipment that vibrates or that requires you to exert a great amount of force.
  • Be mindful of your form. For you wrists, a relaxed middle position is best – avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. Keep your keyboard at elbow height or slightly lower.
  • Watch and improve your posture. Poor posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward, shortening your neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck. This can negatively affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
  • Consider changing your computer mouse. Make sure that your computer mouse is comfortable and doesn’t strain your wrist.
  • Keep your hands warm. Hand pain and stiffness is more likely to develop if you work in a cold environment. If you can’t control the temperature at work, wear fingerless gloves that keep your hands and wrists warm.

Other tips include:

  • Sleep with your wrists held straight.
  • Keep your wrists straight when using tools.
  • Avoid flexing (curling) and extending your wrists repeatedly.
  • Decrease repetitive/strong grasping with the wrist in a flexed position.
  • Perform conditioning and stretching exercises before and after activities.

Some specific exercises are:

Exercise 1

  • Clench the fingers of one hand into a tight fist.
  • Release, fanning out your fingers.
  • Do this five times. Repeat with the other hand.

Exercise 2

  • To exercise your thumb, bend it against the palm beneath the little finger, and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Spread the fingers apart, palm up, and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat five to 10 times with each hand.

Exercise 3

  • Gently pull your thumb out and back and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat five to 10 times with each hand.

 

Citations:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4005-carpal-tunnel-syndrome/prevention

https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/carpal-tunnel-syndrome

 

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