Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when a nerve is pinched in your wrist, leading to numbness, tingling or other symptoms in your wrist, arm and hand. Without treatment, carpal tunnel can drastically impair your hand and wrist movement. In office jobs, your hands are more prone to experience carpal tunnel, due to spending hours a day typing at a keyboard. While it’s impossible to completely prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, there are ways at work to minimize the stress on your hands and wrists.
Take a break
Taking frequent breaks for your hands and wrists is crucial to avoid putting too much strain on your hands. When you’re at a desk typing all day, the micro movements you’re making while at your keyboard over the span of years, and can cause carpal tunnel earlier than you’d think. Make sure to pause frequently to avoid overusing your hands and wrists.
Stretching your hand muscles will allow for less pressure on your hands and wrists in the long term, which will help reduce the risk of carpal tunnel. Try to step away from your keyboard (for both your hands and eyes sake) at least once an hour and stretch your hands out. While you’re at it, you can stretch the rest of your body as well.
Sit up straight
Improving your posture while at work is essential for your spinal health, but it also plays a role in minimizing the likelihood of carpal tunnel. Rolling your shoulders and neck forward can cause unnecessary stress on your wrists and hands.
Invest in Ergonomics
A good ergonomic keyboard and mouse can go a long way in relaxing your hands while you work, and cause less stress to your carpal tunnel. Having good hand and wrist posture while you type is also crucial in reducing the strain you put on your muscles.
Remember that your hands should be straight on the keys, and your wrists shouldn’t be angled left or right on your keyboard while you type. Your wrists and elbows should also be parallel and slightly above your hands, and you shouldn’t be flexing your hands upwards while typing. That means keep your keyboard as close the surface they’re on as possible.
Keep your fingers loose
Pinched nerves in your wrist occur most commonly when strained to the point of breakage, or when you’re exerting too much power than you need. To alleviate this:
- Use larger size pens with foam or gel grips to put less pressure on your hands when writing
- Don’t hit the keys on your keyboard with so much force. Allow your fingers to naturally use less pressure when typing
- Grip your coffee mug and eating utensils with less force. There’s no need to try and break your ceramic mug with your tight grip