Office Worker? This Is What You Should Know About Carpal Tunnel

Office Worker? This Is What You Should Know About Carpal Tunnel

Working in an office isn’t inherently hazardous. However, sitting at a computer for several hours each day can place strain on certain areas of the body. For example, hunching over a computer can put your spine out of alignment and increase the risk of back pain.

If you type a lot, you’re at particular risk for issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when a nerve in the hand becomes entrapped. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop as a result of repetitive motions, such as typing on a computer. However, if you work in an office, carpal tunnel isn’t inevitable. You can take several steps to reduce your risk. 

In this post, the team at LA Orthopaedic Specialists offer practical tips for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in your wrist that surrounds the median nerve as it flows into your hand. Repetitive motions from typing can irritate the median nerve and cause inflammation within this small space. Warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

Abnormal sensations may accompany other symptoms, such as  swelling. Your LA Orthopaedic Specialists provider will perform a thorough evaluation and rule out conditions with overlapping symptoms, such as tendinitis. 

Practical steps for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common among office workers, and women are at a higher risk. However, you can take steps to lower your risk.

Use a neutral risk position

When you’re working for an extended period on a computer, it’s important to hold your wrists in a neutral position. Many people have the tendency to hold their wrists in a flexed position, which puts added strain on the wrist and raises the risk for pain.

Get ergonomic

You spend several hours a day at your workstation, so it’s worth it to spend some time making it more ergonomic. An ergonomic chair set to the correct height and angle will keep your spine straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your forearms in the proper position for pain-free typing.

While working on a keyboard, keep your hands straight rather than holding your wrists above the keys. When you hold your wrists above the keyboard, chances are you’ll place added strain on your hands and wrists. 

Take wrist stretch breaks

Taking short breaks each hour to stretch your hands and wrists can make a big difference. Try shaking out your hands gently and bending your fingers forward and backward to stretch them out.

Protect your wrists outside of the office

Keeping your wrists healthy outside of the office can go a long way too. It’s wise to avoid sleeping on your wrists or hands, especially in a flexed position. If you have some wrist pain, it’s a good idea to wear a wrist brace to avoid putting more strain on the wrists inside and outside of work. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of wrist pain, but you can protect your wrists with some simple changes. If you have wrist pain or are concerned about carpal tunnel, give us a call at 213-455-8448 to schedule a visit with an LA Orthopaedic Specialists provider or book an appointment online to learn about treatment options. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Treatment and Recovery for your ACL Tear

A loud pop and excruciating knee pain following an injury may be the first indication you’ve torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in your knee. Learn how you can treat ACL tears and what to expect during recovery.

Bad Habits That Could Be Making Your Knee Pain Worse

Many people develop knee pain, mostly from injuries or age-related wear-and-tear on their joints. Knee pain can be debilitating and make it difficult to do all the things you want to do. Some bad habits may be contributing to your knee pain.

What Getting an MRI Scan Is Like

If you’ve never had an MRI scan before, you may be concerned about safety and what will happen. An MRI is one of the safest and most thorough testing scans you can have from your provider. Learn more here before your scan appointment.