How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at Work

From desk jockeys to construction workers, anyone who works with their hands on a daily basis is at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome — a painful condition that compresses the median nerve and leads to wrist and hand problems

But at-risk doesn’t mean doomed. 

Here, our team of specialists at Coastal Ortho in Torrance and El Segundo, California, walk through a few practical strategies that can help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome and its limiting pain symptoms. 

Loosen up

It’s easy to get into a rhythm at work and not realize how you’re doing what you’re doing. If you stop and think, you might notice that you’re using more force than you need to. Try easing the grip on your tools or softening the strike on your keyboard — your elbow, wrist, and hand will thank you for it.

Take breaks often

We strongly recommend that you keep an eye on the clock as you work, and step away from your tasks for 10-15 minutes every hour. Simply letting your hands and wrists rest for a few moments goes a long way in avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Make stretching a priority

During those breaks, you might consider gently stretching your hands, wrists, and forearms to keep the muscles and tendons loose and flexible. 

Find neutral

If possible, keep your hands and wrists in a neutral position when handling tools or typing. That means avoiding bending your wrist all the way up (extension) or all the way down (flexion) in an awkward position. Wearing a brace is a great way to keep your wrist in neutral.

We also recommend that you focus on posture throughout the rest of your body as well. Holding your body in proper alignment has a significant impact on how your hands and wrists perform their tasks.

Switch it up

Your wrists hate repetition. Repeating the same motion over and over day in and day out sets the stage for inflammation and tissue damage. To combat this, try alternating your hands or rotating your tasks, so your wrists aren’t stuck performing the same motion all day. 

Keep warm

Cold wrists are vulnerable wrists. Do your best to keep yourself warm while you work to avoid pain and stiffness. If you’re worried about being able to work effectively, try fingerless gloves that keep your hands and wrists warm while leaving your fingers free.

Meet with your supervisor

If there’s simply no avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome triggers, you might consider speaking with your supervisor about changing your workstation, tools, or other aspects of your work life. 

Talk to the pros

Our experts can demonstrate stretches and exercises that help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, and we can also educate you on some other healthy habits that will keep pain at bay.

If the worst has happened, and you’re already dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome pain, we have the services you need to start feeling relief. Based on your specific needs we may recommend:

Only in the most severe cases do we recommend surgery to address carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Don’t spend another day worried about wrist pain. Call your nearest Coastal Ortho office or click online to schedule an appointment with one of our seasoned orthopedic experts.