Our hands control every part of our lives. From turning on a computer to unlocking our phones, we rely on them for so much. Unfortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome is capable of ruining that for a lot of people- putting their hands in so much pain that they can’t work or enjoy technology the way they did before the injury.
Here are some ways to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome and help your hands last longer.
Don’t Flex or Stretch Your Wrists too Often.
Although some stretches are reasonable and will help keep mobility in your wrist- avoid overstretching. Overstretching can tear or bruise parts of your wrist that may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Listen to your body; if a stretch is hurting you, then don’t do it.
Keep Your Wrists Straight When Possible
When typing, allow your wrists to sit straight, instead of at an unnatural angle. You must keep your wrist placement in mind regardless of what you’re doing so that you can help keep carpal tunnel at bay. This step also means when you’re not working, you should focus on what position you have your wrists in. Sleep with your wrists straight, whether by using a splint or some other device, if your wrist is already aching a lot.
Decrease Repetitive Grasping and Gripping
If you find yourself gripping a stress ball a lot, or grabbing something that forces your hand into a tightly grasped fist- try to limit that behavior. Grasping and clutching like this may eventually lead to carpal tunnel. You don’t have to cut out these behaviors entirely, pay attention to how often you do them, and how your hands and wrists feel afterward.
Take Lots of Breaks
This advice gets given so often that it’s almost a cliche- but it still stands. Every half hour of typing, you should give your hands a couple of minutes to relax and stay out of motion. This break can be hard if you’re doing an hourly job, but it can be necessary to make sure your hands and wrists last for longer. Your health is more important than speed or efficiency. If you work from home, consider using the Pomodoro method. It’s designed to allow you to work more efficiently, and it also allows you a short break every half hour. Don’t spend this time typing on social media or scrolling away, let your hands rest- you can watch a YouTube video or listen to a song for a couple of minutes to make sure you follow through.
Keep an Eye on Any Medical Problems Tied to Carpal Tunnel
Although a lot of carpal tunnel comes down to repetition, some cases stem from other medical issues. You may, unfortunately, be at a higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or thyroid problems. You may already have it. There are many ways to learn how to test for carpal tunnel. If all of these seem pretty positive, it’s time to talk to a doctor to figure out your next steps. Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t have to be a career killer as long as you catch it early enough.