Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in the United States. In fact, 3-6% of Americans have the condition. The reason it’s so common is because many people work office jobs and spend lots of time on the computer, which can place an enormous amount on strain on the wrists.
And now that many people are working from home, there is more risk of people developing the condition, because home setups aren’t always as ergonomically correct as those in office settings. If you’re working from home, there are some things you should know to avoid developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In this blog, David Wu, MD, discusses what carpal tunnel syndrome is and how you can help avoid getting it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, the major nerve that runs through your wrist and into your hand, is compressed or squeezed. This tension on the nerve is caused when a wrist is put in a cramped position for prolonged periods of time, such as when typing on a computer.
If you leave your wrist in a cramped position without any movement for too long, tendons and tissues surrounding the nerve can swell. This swelling can place pressure on your median nerve, which can lead to numbness, tingling, and weakness in your hand and even nerve damage.
If you’re working at home, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent developing carpal tunnel syndrome, including the following:
When sitting at your desk, sit up straight and keep your elbows near your sides. If possible, adjust the height of your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Make sure your monitor is centered in front of you and, if possible, adjust it so it’s level with your eyes.
Try to take a break every 20-30 minutes to stretch your hands. Try shaking your hands and stretching them out. And every hour or so, get up and walk around.
The healthier your lifestyle, the better defense you’ll have against developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Living a healthy lifestyle will help reduce inflammation in your body, and inflammation can play a part in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. So eat well, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. You’ll also want to keep any conditions you may have under control, such as diabetes, since certain conditions can increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
To learn more about preventing or treating carpal tunnel syndrome, book an appointment online or over the phone with the office of David Wu, MD, today.