Most people figure that work injuries tend to occur while doing some heavy physical work. However, computer-related injuries are becoming more common. One injury in particular which is rising in occurrence is carpal tunnel syndrome. This injury can really turn using a computer into a painful task…
Carpal Tunnel: Preventing Injury
To better understand what this injury is, it helps to first know what the carpal tunnel itself does. The tunnel is a very narrow passageway in the wrist. The main purpose of the tunnel is to protect the median nerve as it goes down from the neck, through the arm, and into the hand.
The median nerve is pretty important for your hand. For starters, it provides feeling to your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. It also is responsible for controlling the muscles around the base of the thumb. Therefore, you can see why it’s important to take good care of your wrists.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the tunnel itself is narrowed. When you place pressure on your wrist, you’re also narrowing the tunnel, and placing pressure on the median nerve. This then leads to feelings of numbness or tingling in the hand. Over time, it could even lead to a weakness in hand strength.
The most common causes tend to be awkward hand placement and repetitive hand motions. You can see why using a computer can be a main cause of this injury. Constantly typing and using a mouse all day is a recipe for placing too much pressure on your wrist, and in turn, your median nerve.
What to do
Combating carpal tunnel tend to be pretty straightforward. Mainly, it’s all about reducing the stress placed on your wrists. This means making sure you keep your wrists straight when using the computer. Using arm braces or padded cushions can also help alleviate pressure to the wrists.
Make sure to also give your hands a break every now and again. During these breaks, it helps to perform some hand stretches to keep them loose. That way, they won’t tighten up while you work, and you give the carpal tunnel and your nerves some relief.