How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A growing number of Americans suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, but fortunately there are simple things you can do to keep carpal tunnel at bay. So don’t wait until it’s too late. You can start using these tips today to keep your wrists pain free.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons.

Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. This results in pain, weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist, which radiates up the arm. The majority of sufferers are women due to a genetic predisposition. But the good news is that carpal tunnel syndrome can be avoided. Here are a few simple steps you can incorporate into your day

7 simple tips to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome

1. Maintain good posture. Overtime, slouching can strain the neck and shoulders. This, in turn, can lead to complications in the hands and wrists.

2. Avoid gripping objects too tightly. Remind yourself to loosen your grip when a tight hold isn't necessary, as this can cause undue stress on your hands and wrists.

3. Take a break. Whether you are working at a computer or an assembly line, take a short break every hour by hanging your arms at your sides or doing some simple stretches.

4. Keep your hands warm. Studies show that those who constantly have cold hands are more likely to develop pain related to carpal tunnel syndrome. If you work in a cold environment, wear gloves or raise the room temperature at work.

5. Avoid straining or bending your wrists for long periods. If you work at a keyboard, be sure to keep your forearms at the same level as the keyboard.

6. Move around. Don’t stay in one place for too long. Take a short walk around your desk or office.

7. Switch hands. When performing tasks, try to switch from using one hand to another. The goal is to use each hand evenly throughout the day if possible.

About this Experts Contributor: Karen Strader works for Advanced Hand Rehab, which is a division of Advanced Physical Therapy Center offering certified hand therapy in Flint, MI. AHR specializes in the treatment of the upper extremities and has several certified hand therapists on staff. You can follow this contributor on Twitter @advphystherapy.

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