The universe says that prevention is better than cure. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist causing symptoms like tingling, pain, coldness, and sometimes weakness in parts of the hand. It is the most famous of a class of disorders called repetitive strain injuries. It happens a lot to computer users, especially the ones in the IT field. If you’ve ever experienced a tingling or numbness sensation you’ve had for months in your hand and wrist, don’t ignore it. The injury could worsen.
During 1998, an estimated three of every 10,000 workers lost time from work because of carpal tunnel syndrome. Half of these workers missed more than 10 days of work. The average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome, including medical bills and lost time from work, is estimated to be about $30,000 for each injured worker.
Below are several useful tips on carpal tunnel prevention.
- Proper sitting posture at the computer
- Keyboard – hands posture
- Mouse ergonomics
- Keep your hands and arms warm
- Exercise and stretch
Emerging research suggests that a monitor position lower and farther away may be better. The chair and keyboard are set so that the thighs and forearms are level and that the wrists are straight and level, not bent far down or way back. If the table is too high to permit this, it may be better to put the keyboard on your lap.
WRONG : Don’t strain your hands by bending it.
RIGHT : Keep it straight. You will last longer typing this way.
While you are actually typing your wrists should not rest on anything, and should not be bent up, down, or to the side. Your arms should move your hands around instead of resting your wrists and stretching to hit keys with the fingers. NOTE : palm rests give you a place to rest your hands only when pausing from typing, NOT while you are typing. When you stop typing for a while, rest your hands on your lap or at the sides instead of leaving them on the keyboard.
Place the pointing device close to the keyboard. Maximize the movement speed of your mouse cursor so that you move less. Learn as many shortcut keys as possible. I use WordPress, Windows XP and Firefox shortcuts to write and publish my articles everyday. Almost all operating systems such as Windows and Apple OSX have accessibility options that reduce mouse usage.
Cold muscles & tendons are at much greater risk for overuse injuries, and many offices are over-air-conditioned.
Many carpal tunnel syndrome patients do regain the ability to work and regain substantial freedom from pain, although they may find that they remain vulnerable to re-injury and flare-ups. DON’T GIVE UP. Recovery may take much longer than you think you can bear. DON’T GIVE UP.
Don’t aim for lighter weights but for stronger arms!