Office workers who spend long hours in front of their computers, tapping away at their keyboards are at high risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS. The carpal tunnel is that small passageway of bone and ligament that starts at the base of your hand and houses tendons and the median nerve. Women are highly likely to develop CTS because of retaining fluid when they were pregnant, smaller carpal tunnel, and doing repetitive movements such as using the mouse or tapping incessantly on their keyboards.
The good news is that you can take matters into your own hands so to speak to minimize your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are five ways to keep CTS at bay.
- Use a prop. If you have a wrist pad on hand, use it. This will keep your forearms, wrist, as well as hands are in straight line which helps minimize your carpal tunnel syndrome from being squeezed or pinched. For those whose mousing hand is hurting a bit, look for a mouse pad that has support or cushion to make it easier on your wrists and hands.
- Choose height. For those who are bothered by their wrist when using a regular mouse, you might want to consider using a vertical mouse where your thumb is pointing upwards. This device may be easier for your wrist when using it.
- Take breaks. One of the reasons why carpal tunnel syndrome occurs is when you’ve been doing repetitive motions for hours. You might think that your wrists are still okay after tapping away in your computer for hours on end but you’re actually tiring your wrists, hands, and forearms already not to mention increasing your chances of getting CTS. Experts suggest that you take 10 to 15 minutes in between work to give your wrists time to rest. You can do exercises, stretches, or just sit there without using your wrists at all.
- Maintain your health. Another way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from occurring is to make sure that you are always in the best of health. This means that you need to watch what you eat, get enough rest, and make sure that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day or longer if you can.
- Check your desk setup. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be aggravated if your hands are not in the best position when you’re using your computer or desk. For example, your keyboard, phone, as well as mouse should be within the length of your forearms. It is also important that your forearms are in line with your keyboard to minimize flexing of your wrists when typing as this can lead to CTS if you are not careful.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a bother when it hits which is why it is important that you maintain wrist health as much as you can. Giving your wrists a break regardless of how busy you are can save you plenty of trouble in the long run.