5 Ways To Prevent Carpal Tunnel Injuries
If you notice tingling or numbness in your hands or arms, you may be experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. Caused by repetitive movements of your hands and wrists over a period of time, the condition can lead to difficulty performing tasks such as typing, writing, or holding such items as cups when you drink. Unfortunately, even though doctors know the condition is caused by a pinched nerve in the hand called a median nerve passing through what is termed a “carpal tunnel,” it has proven difficult to find ways to prevent this condition. However, there are various steps you can take to minimize your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. If you need help with this, here are five things you can do every day at work or home to prevent carpal tunnel injuries.
Take Frequent Breaks
Since many people who develop carpal tunnel syndrome do so from tasks they perform on the job, it is important to take frequent breaks while at work. This is especially crucial for those who spend their days typing at a keyboard or working on a manufacturing production line doing various types of repetitive tasks. In most cases, taking a break every two or three hours is sufficient, with each break lasting anywhere from three to five minutes.
Use Proper Form
When you spend your day performing repetitive tasks, it is vital you notice the positioning of your hands and wrists so that you can use the proper form as much as possible. This can be hard since during the course of the day you will tire and thus fail to notice if you are using poor form on the job or elsewhere. In most cases, you will want to keep your wrists straight or slightly bent, and also make sure you relax your grip on items as much as possible. For those in such occupations as hairdressers, cashiers, or office administration, using the proper form can alleviate many potential injuries.
Perform Hand and Wrist Exercises
As doctors have learned more about carpal tunnel syndrome, a variety of exercises have been developed to help prevent or alleviate symptoms once they start to appear. With many exercises, the goal is to stretch the hands and wrists to help strengthen the muscles. By doing this for only five minutes per day, you may make a significant difference. If you need to learn more about these exercises, speak with your doctor.
Always Use Proper Posture
If you remember having your mother tell you to sit up or stand up straight, it turns out she was right all along. By using proper posture when typing or doing other repetitive tasks, you can often easily prevent many carpal tunnel injuries. For example, when you use poor posture, your shoulders will roll forward. When this occurs, the muscles in your shoulders and neck become shortened. Ultimately, this affects the positioning of your wrists and hands, causing the muscles in them to become compressed. As a result, the pressure from the compression leads to the median nerve being pinched, resulting in carpal tunnel injuries.
Wearing a Wrist Splint
If you want to be very proactive in helping to prevent carpal tunnel injuries, many doctors recommend wearing a wrist splint. While many people start wearing a wrist splint only after already suffering carpal tunnel injuries, doing so at the first signs of numbness and tingling can make a big difference in helping to ensure the condition does not get worse. If you decide to give this a try, it is recommended you wear it not only while doing tasks, but also when you sleep at night. Since you cannot control the position of your hands and wrists while sleeping, many people actually make their injuries worse while asleep. By having a wrist splint on during sleep, your wrist will stay in a neutral position, thus making sure it does not bend too far forward or backward.