Carpal tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition affecting about 3-6% of adults. And that isn't surprising since most of us work in offices, on computers, where we usually maintain the same position throughout the day.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury to the major nerve that runs through your wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is called a repetitive stress injury because it’s often caused by prolonged and repetitive motion, like typing or turning a crank.
Generally, if you’re feeling numbing, tingling, burning, itching, or weakness in your hand, those are signs of carpal tunnel damage. This feeling can extend up to your shoulder as well. In severe cases, the condition can progress to severe pain, loss of dexterity, and loss of strength and coordination.
It’s important to see your doctor right away, because, if left untreated, carpal tunnel issues can progress to permanent muscle damage and even complete loss of function in your hand. So, if you suspect your pain and other symptoms are related to carpal tunnel damage, you don’t want to let the problem progress.
There are some risk factors for carpal tunnel damage, and some are more likely to cause issues than others. Women, for example, are three times more likely than men to develop the condition. Those who are obese, diabetic, pregnant, or have experienced physical trauma in the carpal tunnel area also have an increased risk. Certain medical conditions, like hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis, are linked to carpal tunnel issues as well.
At the office of The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre, your orthopedic health is our greatest priority. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of tips to help you avoid the common issue that is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Set up your work area properly
Because so many of us work in offices, and on computers, where we regularly perform the repetitive wrist motions that can cause carpal tunnel damage, it’s important that we maintain proper posture while working. Here are some tips for adjusting your work area, including:
- Take small breaks every 10 to 15 minutes (setting reminders on your phone can help)
- Keep your elbows near your sides
- Don’t lean on your wrist or on the heel of your hand
- Perform stretching exercises every 20-60 minutes
When it comes to your desk, you’ll want to center your work area directly in front of you and keep your desk as low as possible without touching your legs. Your forearms should either be parallel to the floor or somewhat lowered. If you’re working while standing, you’ll want to ensure that your work surface is at about the height of your waist.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help decrease your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. So, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise program and to avoid smoking. You’ll also want to control other conditions that you may have, like diabetes and arthritis, which can increase your chances of developing carpal tunnel damage.
Treat carpal tunnel syndrome today
If you have carpal tunnel damage, you’ll need to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Call us, or schedule an appointment right on our website today at our The Woodlands, Texas, location.