Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common nerve entrapment for anyone who spends a lot of time working at a computer. It usually manifests as numbness or tingling in the thumb and fingers with weakness in the affected hand. The symptoms are caused by tight, overworked muscles that narrow the space at the wrist where nerves and blood vessels pass through to the hand and fingers. The good news is that taking a closer look at your workstation can go a long way toward preventing and even correcting this painful condition.
Firstly, check the position of your arms and wrists while you work. Wrists should be as neutral as possible with forearms parallel to the floor to minimize strain. Here are a few other things to look out for.
- If you notice your wrists bending to either side, consider changing your keyboard to one which has more accessible keys or a split keyboard.
- If wrists bend backwards or forwards you may want to try a wrist rest to stabilize them or adjust the height of your chair.
- If your hands are held actively over the keyboard have a wrist or forearm rest accessible for when you’re not typing.
- If you’re using a mouse for prolonged periods try bringing the mouse closer to your body and use some type of arm support.
- Take regular breaks and stretch several times per day holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- When your day is done, move your arms (fingertips to elbows) under cold running water for a few minutes to help lessen tendon inflammation. Pat or air dry (don’t rub!) and rest.