Repetitive motion is the over-arching cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, which refers to pain, tingling or numbness in the hand. Most commonly associated with those who perform keyboarding tasks for a living, anyone pursuing activities requiring repetitive motion in the hands and wrists is at risk.
When the median nerve which extends from your wrist into your hand is compressed, you have carpal tunnel. You can avoid this painful condition with a little vigilance, so this post is devoted to sharing 5 simple ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. Take frequent breaks
Like every other part of your body, your hands and wrists need to rest. When you’re using them constantly, they get tired and that can provoke carpal tunnel.
A short break from what you’re doing is all that’s required and while you’re taking that break, you can stretch your hands and wrists. Bend them forward and then back. Make a fist and rotate first inward, then outward. This has the effect of “resetting” the mechanisms under strain.
2. Watch positioning
For keyboard workers, it’s essential that your keyboard allows you to work with your wrists in alignment with your lower arm, to the elbow. Arching the wrists upward is one of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.
But if you work with implements you’re obliged to grip, ensure you’re not gripping them too tightly. Also check your wrist position. Your wrist – as with keyboarding – should be straight, or only slightly bent.
Stress balls are for more than stress. They’re for strengthening your hands. Squeeze the stress ball for a count of 5 and release. Repeat 5 times, then switch to the other hand.
Wall presses are another exercise which can strengthen your wrists and hands. Standing about 3 feet from the wall, place your hands on it, about shoulder width apart. As you lean into the wall, keep your feet flat on the floor, then push away. Repeat 10 times.
The way you sit while working is also an important factor in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. Sit up straight, with your shoulders relaxed and your buttocks pushed against the back of the chair. Your eyes should be level with the center of your computer screen.
Tension in your shoulders caused by craning toward the screen can cascade down the arms and contribute to eventual CTS.
A wrist brace isn’t just a therapeutic answer to existing CTS. It can prevent it, too. Wearing one at night ensures that you’re maintaining your wrists in a neutral position. While it may sound a little extreme, carpal tunnel isn’t something you need to work through every day. A little prevention goes a long way.
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