Pain or tingling in your hands and wrists could indicate carpal tunnel syndrome. It's a progressive condition that develops slowly, making typing and even buttoning your shirt difficult.
Typing all day with the wrong form or posture puts you at significant risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, you can take steps to lower your risk, especially if you're an office worker.
Dr. Omar Osmani and the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico team offer several treatment options for carpal tunnel issues. Dr. Osmani is an experienced orthopedic surgeon offering carpal tunnel release surgery when the pain is too much.
Understanding carpal tunnel syndrome
The arm, wrist, and hands comprise various tissues, including nerves, tendons, and bones. The median nerve is an essential part of the arm, providing feeling to the first three fingers and the thumb.
The medial nerve is also responsible for the ability to move your thumb. The nerve runs through a small canal between the wrist bones, known as the carpal tunnel.
When the nerve becomes entrapped in the canal, it creates the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which include:
- Numbness in the hand
- Tingling or pain in the fingers
- Difficulty writing or typing
- Hand weakness
- Dropping objects
- Trouble gripping
Carpal tunnel pain may worsen at night, especially if you sleep with your wrists bent. People with specific jobs are at risk for the condition due to repeated stress on the wrists.
Why are office workers at risk?
Being an office worker isn't an inherently dangerous job; there are certain risks, though, that you're more prone to. For example, sitting hunched over at a computer all day strains the muscles in your neck and the nerves in your wrist.
Sitting all day is hard on the body in various ways, especially on your wrists and hands. Typing all day and with too much force causes tissues to swell and entrap the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
Improper typing techniques, along with repetitive movements of the wrist, also put office workers at risk for carpal tunnel problems.
However, just because you work in an office doesn't mean you automatically get carpal tunnel syndrome. Other factors, including age and genetics, also play an essential role.
The key to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome
As an office worker, you must understand how to avoid painful conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Our team offers the following tips to keep your wrists safe from carpal tunnel:
Check your computer mouse
An ergonomic computer mouse is vital to keeping strain off the median nerve. Ensure your mouse isn't straining your wrist while you're working.
Watch your posture
Hunching over puts a lot of strain on the neck and back, affecting your hands and wrists. Use the proper posture to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.
Proper typing form is a critical aspect of healthy wrists. Avoid bending your wrists too far up or down, and keep the keyboard around elbow height or just below.
Take plenty of breaks
Taking breaks hourly from typing at your desk is critical in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. During the break, stretch your wrists and shake your hands to take pressure off the nerve.
Typing too hard strains the hands and wrists, possibly leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Use a softer touch on the keyboard to avoid issues with the nerve.
Lessen your grip
Office work isn't all about typing; sometimes, you do a lot of writing. If you have to write for long periods, use a more oversized pen with a grip and loosely hold it. Take breaks from writing as well to keep the wrists safe.
Call the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico today to schedule an appointment for carpal tunnel syndrome or request a consultation on the website.