If you have a busy schedule, it can be easy to overlook pain you’re experiencing in your hands and wrists hoping that it will go away over time. However, idling on a minor issue today can lead to a significant one down the road. For all the busy office bees out there, we have four tools you can use at your desk throughout the day to prevent and alleviate pain in the hands and wrists.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve in your hand called the median nerve. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include (1) wrist pain that might radiate to the forearm, arm, neck, or shoulders; (2) numbness and tingling in certain fingers; (3) weakness of grip; and/or (4) severe nighttime hand pain. While there is no one activity or condition that directly causes carpal tunnel syndrome, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing this condition. One of these risk factors is performing activities with repetitive motions, which is common among office workers.
If your job consists of working on your computer for hours on end, using a regular mouse places your hand in an unnatural gripping position. The same is true if you use a laptop that has a trackpad. Instead, consider an ergonomic mouse. The benefit of this type of mouse is that it will keep your hand and wrist in a more natural and relaxed position. By making an effort to notice potential issues and adjust your work environment, you will be taking a proactive approach to your health.
Does your job involve talking on the phone for significant portions of the day? If so, consider a phone headset. These headsets reduce tension from holding a phone between your ear and shoulder, especially if you are taking notes or typing on your computer while chatting. If you have a career in sales or customer service, this will ease the burden you are putting on your hands and wrists on a daily basis.
Work can be a major stressor in your life and something as simple as a stress ball can help you out when things get particularly hectic. Stress balls can serve two purposes. First, squeezing a stress ball in your hand can relieve stress and muscle tension. Second, a stress ball can be used to exercise the muscles of the hand. As a result, you’re giving your hands and wrists a break from the repetitive aspects of your job such as clicking, typing, or holding a phone.
Keyboards, whether on a desktop computer or a laptop, are not designed with your hands and wrists in mind. Given the angle of the keyboard, your hands and wrists will likely rest on your desk at an unnatural angle. Ergonomic keyboards, like ergonomic mice, are specifically designed to provide a more comfortable and natural fit for your hands and wrists.
The tools listed above are easy ways to maintain healthy hands and wrists as an office worker. If you are consistently experiencing pain in the hands and wrists, this may be a sign of a more serious, underlying issue. Carpal tunnel syndrome cannot be diagnosed based on a single criteria or test. Instead, a diagnosis is determined using your medical history, a physical examination, and additional testing. At the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, we have several non-surgical treatments and surgical treatments if you are indeed diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. The right course of action is recommended based on your unique, individual situation.
It’s easy to overlook your hands, but remember how important they are to your day-to-day. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect overall job performance and that is the last thing you want. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, give us a call at 713-374-4263 or schedule an appointment online.
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