Preventing carpel tunnel syndrome
The bones and other tissues in your wrist help to protect your median nerve; together they form a narrow tunnel that is known as the carpel tunnel. Your
median nerve is what gives you feeling in your fingers but occasionally ligaments and tendons get swollen and become painful as they press against the median nerve. When this happens your hand hurts or even becomes numb and you develop an extremely painful condition know as carpel tunnel syndrome.
Carpel tunnel syndrome most commonly affects people who do the same movements with their hands continually. Those who more at risk include typists, carpenters, grocery packers and assembly line workers, people with hobbies such as gardening, needlework, golfing and canoeing are also more at risk of developing the syndrome. It has also been linked with illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis and thyroid disease and women in the last few months of pregnancy can develop it.
The first signs that indicate you might be suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome include
Tingling or numbness felt in your hands and fingers especially around the index, middle fingers and thumb.
Pain in the palm of your hand, forearm or wrist
The pain or numbness is worse at night than it is during the day
The pain gets worse the more you use your hands
You have trouble gripping things and drop them more often
Your thumb feels particularly weak
Your doctor will perform an examination of your hand, fingers and wrist to help determine whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome and may include a nerve conduction test to help the diagnosis. If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, treatment will usually consist of you having to wear a splint, and give your wrist a rest and change the way you use your wrist. The splint can help to alleviate the pain felt, particularly at night. Massaging the area of pain and putting ice onto the area can all help, as can performing stretching exercises. With treatment it is a condition that will improve, but there are some things you can do to help prevent the onset of carpel tunnel syndrome.
Increasing your awareness of how you use your hands and equipment throughout the day can make a change
Centering your work directly in front of you, your forearms should be parallel to the floor or slightly lowered
If you stand up to work then have your work bench at waist height
Make sure your hands and wrists are in line with your forearms
If you work long hours at a keyboard then titling it can help
Use proper hand and wrist movements when using a mouse and trackball
Make sure you hold your elbows in close to your sides
Never rest of the heel of your hand or wrist especially if you have them bent at an angle.
Make sure that you take a slight break every 20 minutes
Do some stretching or flexing exercises every 20 minutes