Nine Ways to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

This health e-letter concerns a very common health complaint that can be much more debilitating than most people realize. Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is an occupational hazard for anyone who does repetitive work with their hands and/or fingers. Basically, if you sit at a keyboard, work on an assembly line, use tools, sew, play a musical instrument — or any number of other activities — you’re at risk for the painful condition.

The difficulty with CTS is that it can quickly become a chronic condition that shows up immediately at the start of any activity involving the hands. It’s excellent health advice to make sure you prevent the condition from occurring in the first place.

With that in mind, here are nine tips for minimizing your risk for CTS:

1. Use your whole hand and all of your fingers when you grip an object.

2. Use a tool whenever possible, instead of flexing your wrists.

3. Make sure your posture is correct. When using the computer, sit straight in your chair and keep your wrists and hands straight and your forearms parallel.

4. Adjust your computer screen so that it is about two feet away from you and just below your line of sight.

5. When sitting and using the computer, use armrests to keep your wrists from flexing too much.

6. Take a break from handwork for a few minutes every hour.

7. Shake out your hands periodically throughout the day.

8. Perform simple stretching exercises before beginning your daily tasks.

9. Do strengthening exercises, such as placing a rubber band around the fingers to provide resistance and then opening and closing your fingers.

Doctors treat CTS in a variety of ways. If you have the condition, you may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications. If you experience weakness in your thumb, it could be an indication that the median nerve has sustained some damage. Get your doctor’s advice about the best treatment should you develop this symptom.