Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be quite debilitating, and it is surprisingly easy to develop this condition. This is especially true in today's world, where our wrists are heavily strained by repetitive motions such as typing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Take Breaks

Carpal tunnel is developed through long periods of repetitive motion in the wrists. Whether you're typing, chopping food, or doing some other repetitive task that mostly involves wrist and hand movement, your wrists will need to take a break every now and then to stay healthy. A short break of about one to two minutes every 15 to 20 minutes is all that you need to help keep your wrists in good condition.

Even if you're rushing to get something done, it's better to take breaks and help prevent carpal tunnel than to muscle through it and end up with lasting consequences.

Maintain a Neutral Wrist Position

Repetitive motion is only part of the equation. Another aspect of developing carpal tunnel is repetitive motion while having the wrists in a bent position. This puts undue stress on the muscles in your wrist and contributes to the development of carpal tunnel. Keeping the wrist at a neutral or straight position as much as possible helps keep the strain off of your wrists and prevents the onset of carpal tunnel.

You can achieve this in various ways, such as ensuring your computer chair is at a good height to type with unbent wrists or wearing wrist braces that essentially force your wrists to maintain a neutral position as much as possible. In fact, wrist braces are commonly prescribed to people with carpal tunnel to help reduce strain and improve comfort.

Practice Good Posture

This tip not only helps you keep a neutral wrist position, but it also helps prevent overall pain. Poor posture is well known for causing back and neck pain, but it can also put strain on nerves in the arms and wrists that can easily cause pain and lead to carpal tunnel.

Use Less Force

It's a habit for many people to use excessive force when doing regular tasks such as writing or grasping items. However, this also causes undue stress on your wrists. Try to handle tasks more gently. Lightly tap keys on a keyboard or cash register, use a soft grip on a pen or pencil to reduce the amount of force needed to hold it still, avoiding slamming objects down, and simply remember to be as gentle as possible with your everyday tasks.

Keep Your Hands Warm

Cold environments can easily cause pain in the joints, and your wrists are no exception. If you work in an environment that is particularly cold, your wrists can be even more susceptible to soreness and carpal tunnel because you're both putting strain on your wrists and exposing them to a cold environment. Keep proper heating in the area when you're doing tasks that involve repetitive motion in the wrists. It's also a good idea to keep your hands and wrists warm as often as possible throughout the day by wearing gloves.