According to the staff of the Mayo Clinic, “Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressively painful hand and arm condition caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist. A number of factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including the anatomy of your wrist, certain underlying health problems and possibly patterns of hand use.”
“Bound by bones and ligaments, the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway — about as big around as your thumb — located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to your hand and nine tendons that bend your fingers. Compression of the nerve produces the numbness, pain and, eventually, hand weakness that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.”
Who is at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?
Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, perhaps because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men. The dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain.
The risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome is not confined to people in a single industry or job, but is especially common in those performing assembly line work — manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning, and meat, poultry, or fish packing. In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome is three times more common among assemblers than among data-entry personnel.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, almost half of carpal tunnel cases result in 31 days or more of work loss. There may be ways you can help decrease your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Exercise. Stop throughout the day and exercise your fingers, wrist and arms. You want to stretch them out to help with flexibility. This kind of movement keeps your muscles limber and less likely to stiffen up.
- Key lightly. The pressure from hammering away at a keyboard can affect your wrist. Reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel by typing lightly.
- Take breaks. The main cause of carpal tunnel is repetitive motion. As a result, throughout your workday, stop and take small five-minute breaks. Let your hands dangle. Stand up. Walk around.
- Change keyboards. Before you feel the first pinch in your wrist, ask your boss for an ergonomic keyboard. This way, when you type, your body is in the right alignment.
- Adjust your desk/chair. Make sure your desk and chair are in the correct position and reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel. At the proper height, your forearms should be level with your keyboard.
- Rest your hands, appropriately. Reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel by resting your hands on only soft surfaces, like pillows. Avoid plopping these appendages on hard areas because the impact applies additional force to your nerves.
Sometimes, even with precautions and taking all the right steps, workplace injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are unavoidable. If you have been injured on the job and you need help with your Workers’ Compensation claim, please call the experienced Colorado Workers’ Compensation attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm. Call toll free at (877) 846-4878, or click here for a free consultation form. Your initial consultation is free, and you will not owe us any fee until we collect money for you.