Avoiding Carpal Tunnel in an Office Job

One of the most common nerve disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, affects 4-10 million Americans. You’re at an increased risk of developing the condition if you participate in activities that involve forceful or repetitive hand or wrist movements. While several health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, can also make you more susceptible to developing the condition, you’re more likely to experience it if you’re a woman. About three times as many women compared to men get carpal tunnel syndrome.  

Carpal tunnel syndrome involves your median nerve, which travels down your arm to your hand. When it reaches your wrist, it goes through a passageway called the carpal tunnel. The median nerve controls sensation in your thumb and first three fingers. If the carpal tunnel is compressed, such as with repetitive activity, it may pinch your median nerve. This can result in pain, numbness, and tingling in your hand and arm, key signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.  

The health specialists at San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Inc., in San Diego, have the expertise to identify and treat carpal tunnel syndrome. They specialize in providing minimally invasive endoscopic surgery to provide pain relief and restore function, so you can resume work and other normal activities without limitations. 

While we take pride in our ability to diagnose and treat this condition, we believe that prevention is always in your best interest. Read on to learn how you can reduce your risk of developing this condition in an office job. 

Start with stretching

Before you leave home, spend a few minutes stretching the tendons and muscles in your wrists and hands. For your wrists, gently move them up and down. For your fingers and thumbs, make them into a ball, and then stretch them out. Between stretches, you can wear fingerless gloves to keep your hands warm and flexible. 

Avoid overuse

Whenever possible, avoid doing the same task with the same sequence of movements for long periods. Try switching hands so that each one isn’t always in the same position. When holding a cell phone or pen, don’t grip it tightly.

Take frequent breaks to avoid being in the same position all day. If there are times when you’re unable to take a break, turn your hands over and lay your knuckles on the table when there’s a pause in typing or movement. This can provide an easy way to give your wrists a change of position. 

Practice smart typing habits

When typing, try to keep your wrists in a neutral position by keeping them close to your trunk and parallel with the floor. This position will help prevent putting pressure on the median nerve. 

When typing keystrokes that require two keys, use both hands so you don’t have to stretch out one hand to reach both keys. Furthermore, avoid pounding your keyboard as you hit the keys. And try to minimize the force and pressure you use when performing other repetitive tasks, such as gripping tools. 

Use proper posture

Set up an ergonomically correct workspace. Position your chair and desk so you can keep your shoulders squared instead of rolling forward. Hunching over your desk can increase strain in your arms, wrists, and hands.

When sitting, you can improve your posture by keeping your back straight and feet flat on the floor or footrest. If possible, try using a standing desk, ergonomic chair, or yoga ball, so you can alternate your position during the day. 

Wear a wrist brace

A wrist brace can help keep your wrist in a neutral position, which can reduce stress on the carpal tunnel. A brace helps prevent your wrist from bending too far in one direction. Bedtime is also a good time to wear a wrist brace, since you can’t control your wrist position while you sleep.  

To get treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome or to learn more ways to prevent it, book an appointment online or over the phone with San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Inc. today.

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