Tips for Avoiding Carpal Tunnel If You Work With Your Hands

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common nerve condition affecting about 3-6% of all adults. It can result from a trauma or injury, rheumatoid arthritis, or a job or hobby that requires repetitive hand and wrist movements such as factory work, working on a computer, sewing, or cleaning. 

Having diabetes or other disorders that affect the body’s nerves can also increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel.

Usually, carpal tunnel is the result of a combination of factors. You can’t prevent it, but there are many things you can do to reduce your risks of developing it and to prevent symptoms from worsening. 

Here, our medical team at Douglas J. Abeles M.D. & Associates offers tips on how to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome at work.  

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Your median nerve runs from your forearm to the palm of your hand. The carpal tunnel, a tube made of bone and ligament, surrounds the median nerve and tendons that enable you to bend your fingers. When the tunnel becomes narrow, the nerve inside compresses.

When this compression occurs, you may feel tingling in your fingers, usually your thumb and index finger. As the condition progresses, you may have trouble grabbing or holding small objects. 

Eventually, you may feel pain, weakness, and numbness in your hands and arms, making it difficult to do work that involves your hands. Carpal tunnel can affect one or both wrists. 

Tips to reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel

The goal of preventing or reducing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is to minimize pressure on your hands and wrists. Some ways to reduce this pressure include:

Work on your posture

Poor posture, such as slouching and repeatedly bending forward to use your computer or scroll through your smartphone, can affect your back as well as your wrists, shoulders, arms, and hands. 

Focus on sitting up straight in a comfortable chair to prevent the tightening of muscles that can affect your wrists. Additionally, keep your wrists in a natural, relaxed position while you work.

Stretch

Stretch often. Bend your wrists and fingers backward and forward. Raise your arms to the sky. Bend forward, back, and sideways. 

Take breaks

Take frequent breaks to give your hands and wrists a chance to rest. Breaks are especially important if you’re lifting heavy objects or using machinery that vibrates.

Focus on your workstation

If you work at a desk all day, make sure your workstation is set up ergonomically correct. This means your computer screen is at the right height and distance for your eyes and neck. Your keyboard should be in a position so you don’t have to bend or strain your wrists to type.

Stay warm

If your hands and body are cold, your muscles can stiffen up. Try fingerless gloves if you’re doing computer work in a chilly office. 

Get treatment for carpal tunnel

If your symptoms persist, Dr. Abeles can work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include splints, anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid injections, or surgery.

If you’re feeling pain and tingling sensations in your wrists and hands, call us at the private practice of Douglas J. Abeles MD & Associates in Castro Valley, California, to make an appointment for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can Spinal Stenosis Be Reversed?

Spinal stenosis is a progressive condition. That means it can’t be reversed. But there are treatments that can help manage symptoms. Click here to learn more about spinal stenosis and what you can do to manage it.

How Sports Medicine Can Treat Your Shin Splints

Shin splints aren’t a serious sports injury, but you should never work through the pain. Without proper treatment, your shin splints may cause stress fractures. Here’s why you need sports medicine for your shin splints.

What to Expect with Hip Joint Replacement

Hip joint replacement surgery is a life-changing procedure that reduces hip pain and restores joint mobility. Is it right for you? Click here to learn more about what to expect with hip joint replacement.

4 Common Sports Injuries That Need Treatment

It’s always a good idea to stay active. But not when you have a sports injury. Though you can treat a minor injury at home, click here to see what common sports injuries need professional treatment.