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How to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. According to Mayo Clinic, anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to this injury.

Many factors contribute to the development of carpal tunnel, and some risk factors may increase your chances of developing aggravated nerve damage.

Risk factors

  • Anatomic factors: a wrist fracture or dislocation, or arthritis
  • Gender: more common in women
  • Nerve-damaging conditions: chronic illnesses
  • Inflammatory conditions: rheumatoid arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Alterations in the balance of bodily fluids
  • Workplace factors: computer use

Take regular breaks away from your computer. Your hands and wrists need a break from time to time. The break doesn’t have to last long, just a few minutes will do. You may want to set a reminder to take breaks if you easily forget to while working.

Let your wrists rest on the desk in a neutral position. You’ll want to watch your form when performing repetitive actions all day. When repeatedly holding something, you should reduce your force and relax your grip. Those who type on a computer all day should consider using a comfortable pad to avoid flexing or extending your wrist for too long.

Improve your posture. Keep your shoulders and back relaxed and do not slouch. You’ll want your computer in front of you so you don’t have to crane your neck to work.

Though there is no proven way to prevent carpal tunnel, the above suggestions can minimize stress on your hands and wrists.

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  • Walter J. Roesch IV
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