Those who routinely perform activities on the job that involve forceful or repetitive hand or wrist movement, or who often use vibrating equipment such as jackhammers and sanders, have an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Below are some tips you can use, both on and off the job, to decrease your chances of developing this condition.
1. Change your tool or grip.
If there is an alterative, less-straining tool available that could perform the same task, speak with your supervisor about switching devices. If switching tools is not an option, try alternating hands or using different grips.
Take a few minutes to stretch every 20-60 minutes. Here are some helpful exercises from WebMD you can do to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
3. Wear a Brace
If you already have carpal tunnel syndrome, or are beginning to show early signs, wearing a brace is a viable option. However, braces are not meant to be worn over long periods of time, and the relief is only temporary. If you are showing signs of carpal tunnel or would like to wear a brace, you should consult with your doctor before making any decisions.
4. Check your Ergonomics
Like some of the other injury types we’ve covered in our blog (neck, back), the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is not limited to construction workers and other laborers. Desk workers also need to have their work stations properly proportioned to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. The height of the chair should put your forearms level with the keyboard to prevent any straining of the wrists. You can also use an ergonomic keyboard as well as a cushioned mouse pad to ease the pressure put on your wrists.
5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Conditions such as diabetes and arthritis as well as poor habits such as smoking and eating unhealthy foods can contribute to carpal tunnel. Doing your best to maintain good, healthy habits and keeping any conditions under control will reduce your risks of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you begin showing signs of carpal tunnels syndrome, make an appointment with your doctor and speak with your supervisor about implementing these suggested changes into your work station. Remember, you are entitled to a a safe work environment.