You have plenty of things to focus on other than pain when you’re at work. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk of a common source: carpal tunnel syndrome. Caused by pressure on the median nerve that gives you sensation in your thumbs and fingers (except your pinky), it happens when swelling crops up in your wrist. This swelling squeezes the pathway the median nerve travels through, triggering numerous symptoms, including:
At the office of Dr. David Wu, we’ve found that making certain changes in your habits might not fully prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but it can lower your risk and lessen the impact of any symptoms that do appear. Contact our office in Torrance, California, to learn more.
Prolonged work and physical activities — such as typing on your keyboard or using tools that require a lot of force or that vibrate — can fuel carpal tunnel syndrome pain. To work around this, aim to step away from your workstation for 10-15 minutes every hour or so. Even a quick pause to move your arms and fingers about or engage in stretches — such as making fists and opening them 10 times — can have a valuable impact.
How you position your arms, hands, and body can play a role in carpal tunnel syndrome. Poor posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward, which can lead to shortened shoulder and neck muscles, crunched nerves in your neck, and worsened wrist pain.
For good posture, sit with your back straight and your shoulders slightly back. While you’re sitting, your buttocks should touch the back of the chair. At a desk, sit close to your work and try to tilt it up toward you, while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Meanwhile, adjust your computer keyboard so your wrists aren’t overly bent.
Awkward wrist positions while you sleep are a major cause of carpal tunnel symptoms. Wearing a brace at night might be all you need to do away with the pain and discomfort. Stress can lead you to bend your wrists during sleep, so managing that can help, too. If you find that your body, particularly your arms or wrists, tend to tighten when you’re under emotional pressure, consider working relaxation practices into your lifestyle, such as guided meditation or breathing exercises.
If you continue to experience carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms or have difficulty taking preventive steps, contact our office or request an appointment with Dr. Wu here on our website.