Many people seek to avoid harsh and dangerous professions and work environments. Getting a college degree and working inside an office building seems like the safest of professions. And yet, every career can have certain risks.
For example, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that some indoor professions put you at a higher risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
The talented medical team at One Oak Medical, serving six locations in New Jersey and New York, wants you to know more about this painful hand and wrist condition. Knowing the signs, and how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing, is key to a long, healthy career.
Our orthopedic specialists can provide solutions for CTS, and share here some effective ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome at work.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a channel that protects the median nerve as it runs through the center of your wrist and into your hand. If the median nerve is compressed, it causes sensations of tingling, numbness, and even pain throughout the wrist and hand. Performing certain tasks day after day can exert pressure on the carpal tunnel, compressing the median nerve and causing problems, even disablement.
Most people think of typing when the subject of carpal tunnel arises, and this activity can certainly contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. But, according to the CDC report cited earlier, a number of professions put their practitioners at a higher risk for developing carpal tunnel. These can include:
Other professions that include repetitive tasks, forceful use of the hand or wrist, vibration, or awkward positioning or use of the hand or wrist also raise your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
How can I avoid carpal tunnel syndrome?
Quitting your job or making a career change may not be in the cards for most people. So what can you do in your current profession to help prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Sitting at work all day is terrible on many fronts, but especially on your health. If you must sit for prolonged times, set up your workstation or area as ergonomically as possible. Choose a chair that positions your arms at the right height for desk work or typing. Try to sit straight in the chair and avoid slouching. Stand or walk as often as possible, even while working, to vary your posture and positioning.
Add exercises to your day
Every few hours, take a few minutes to move your wrists and fingers, rotating and moving them back and forth, and round and round. If necessary, one of our orthopedic specialists can recommend special exercises for strengthening your wrists and hands.
Wear a brace
Wrist braces help keep your wrist aligned in its proper position to prevent pain and pressure on your median nerve. You can wear braces while working or even while sleeping, if pain persists. Consult with one of our orthopedic specialists for more advice about choosing and wearing a wrist brace.
Loosen your grip
Take a moment to evaluate how you perform tasks with your hands. Holding a pen or tool too tightly can cause problems, just as much as repetitive movements. Be aware of your gripping and working habits and loosen your grip if needed. Many times, using excessive force can cause you to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Letting the tool, such as a hammer, do the work, or using the right tool for the task, can help you work less and reduce strain on your hands and wrists.
These are basic tips to help you make adjustments so you can possibly avoid suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Our orthopedic specialists at One Oak Medical can make more specific recommendations for your unique situation, or provide treatment, when you schedule a consultation.
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Source: One Oak Medical