Carpal Tunnel Syndrome :: Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Your Workplace

The incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is higher in office settings than in most other professions. CTS occurs when tendons or ligaments in the wrist become enlarged after being aggravated. This alters the ratio of space in the area of the carpal tunnel, which can cause increased pressure on the median nerve.

Help prevent CTS by following these guidelines:

The height of many computer keyboards creates tension in the wrists because you need to bend your wrists to hit all of the keys. When using the computer, use a padded wrist rest so that your wrists sit comfortably on the table in front of the keyboard.

Stop typing every 30 minutes and stretch your hands and wrists. Spread your hands and fingers wide and then ball them up into a fist. Repeat five times. Rotate your wrists five times in one direction, then five times in the alternate direction. These exercises will keep your hands and wrists flexible and decrease the chances of acquiring CTS.

Holding the telephone all day with your wrist extended can cause undue stress. If you spend much of your day on the telephone, you need to switch to a headset. Not only will the headset help prevent CTS, but it can also alleviate neck and upper back pain.

When performing repetitive gripping activities, make every effort to keep your wrists straight. Research has shown that when the wrist is straight, that this position produces the least amount of pressure in the carpal tunnel. Stop every 30 minutes and stretch your fingers and wrist backwards five to 10 times to maintain flexibility.

If you have numbness and tingling in the hands, primarily the thumb, index, and/or long fingers or the presence of an electric-like shock in your hands, you may have CTS. Ask your doctor for a referral to a hand therapist and get proper treatment — a small injury to the hand or arm can become a serious long-term disability if neglected.

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