Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in the Workplace

June 15, 2021

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in the Workplace

Do your fingertips tingle or go lifeless after spending too much time on the computer? If this is the case, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome transpires when a nerve in your wrist is squeezed, causing numbness, tingling, or other discomforts in your hand, wrist, and arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome, if left untreated, can severely limit your hand and wrist movement. Because you spend hours a day working at a computer, your hands are more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome in office work.

What is Carpal Tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a tight canal or tube in the wrist. This wrist region, comparable to an automobile tunnel, permits the median nerve and tendons to link the hand and forearm. This tunnel comprises carpal bones and ligaments, with the median nerve and tendons running through it.

Causes / Risk Factors

Women are also more likely than men to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, and many frequently don't know what caused their carpal tunnel syndrome. It could be because of:

  • repeated motions, such as typing or other wrist movements that you repeat. 
  • heredity
  • wrist fracture and dislocation or hand or wrist deformity
  • obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, and diabetes are all examples of chronic diseases.
  • pregnancy

Symptoms

Symptoms typically appear gradually and might occur at any time. Early signs and symptoms include:

  • nighttime numbness
  • sensation of tingling and/or soreness in the fingers (especially the thumb, index, middle fingers)
  • reduced feeling in the fingertips
  • difficulty utilizing one's hand for minor tasks such as handling tiny objects
  • grasping steering wheel for driving
  • holding a book
  • writing
  • typing/using a computer keyboard
  • hand weakness
  • inability to perform tasks that need delicate motor motions
  • dropping objects

Prevention

We continually search for methods to increase efficiency by optimizing our working environment, from workplace décor to team events. While this works to enhance moods and keep workers engaged, one factor that many workplace spaces overlook is ergonomics. Carpal tunnel syndrome prevention is more effective and less expensive than treatments. It's an actual injury that affects the wrists and hands of employees. In the workplace, it is typically caused by improper mouse and keyboard use. To avoid harm, employees must understand all of the proper methods to handle their keyboard and mouse. So, let's have a look at some helpful carpal tunnel syndrome preventive tips. 

Posture

Another critical thing to consider is your work posture. Pay close attention to your posture while working to make sure that your shoulders are not hunched forward or slouching. This type of posture might pinch nerves, exacerbating the pain. Avoid flexing your wrists up and down; instead, let them rest on the surface of your desk, and maintain your keyboard at elbow height.

Exercise and stretch

One of the remedies that doctors offer is physical exercise, which can help prevent CPS. Perform the following basic activities daily:

  • Shake wrists. This is a simple activity that can help relieve discomfort quickly if you already have CPS symptoms. It is also an excellent approach to prevent the problem by relaxing your wrists.
  • Form a fist and then spread your fingers widely.
  • Make a fist then, spread your fingers as though you were trying to stop someone.

Stretching the wrists regularly alleviates any pain that employees may be experiencing and avoids additional injury. In addition, stretching your hand muscles will result in reduced tension on your hands and wrists, in the long run, lowering your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. At least once each hour, take a break from your computer and straighten your hands out. You can stretch the rest of your body as well.

Ergonomics

It is critical to pay attention to wrist ergonomics, especially if you spend most of your time in front of a computer. If you overuse your wrist, you may develop CPS. In addition, ergonomic furniture is the ideal carpal tunnel syndrome option and is vital for avoiding repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.


DESK SETUP


KEYBOARD AND MOUSE:

Ergonomic keyboards are divided through the middle and slightly slanted to the left and right. This may be an excellent alternative; however, it is not your only one. A keyboard with easy-to-press keys may be as beneficial in avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome.

The mouse you pick should feel comfortable in the palm of your hand. Before making a purchase, consider all of your possibilities. It should be as lightweight as possible, with easy-to-use keys, and the perfect size to not stretch your fingers while working.

COMFORTABLE ERGONOMIC CHAIR:

The chair should allow the user to change the height and provide maximum support and comfort for your back. Height-adjustable seats enable you to customize the height according to your desk. Armrests on your chair can avoid muscle stress in your shoulders and arms, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. Choose a chair with various ergonomic characteristics, such as a headrestlumbar support, and a reclining feature that allows you to sit in a relaxed position for the most comfortable experience.

Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair by FlexiSpot

The Soutien provides the ultimate sitting experience behind your desk, with its 3D lumbar support system, 135° lounge tilt, and 4D adjustable armrests. 

  • The beautifully curved backrest ergonomically fits the neck and spine for optimal headrest and lumbar support, with three height adjustment options and a mild rebound system.
  • The adjustable armrests mold your arms and elbows seamlessly for ultimate comfort and are flexible in four directions.
  • Allows you to relax and recline in comfort throughout your work lunch break.
  • Adjusts your sitting experience based on your body structure.

SIT-STAND DESK:

This type of desk allows you to change the height to your preferred level. When your wrist joints and muscles begin to strain, switch the table from a sitting to a standing position. Getting in a height-adjustable desk is one of the most effective strategies to avoid carpal syndrome. In addition, when working long hours, think about investing in a sit-stand desk to maintain blood circulation to your lower extremities.

FlexiSpot Willow Solid Wood Standing Desk

The Willow height-adjustable desk has an environmentally friendly solid wood surface and an elegant, classic design that will complement any setting. The desk frame, made of high-quality steel resistant to stains and scratches, prohibits any wobbling even at the maximum adjustment level, and its strong motor assures seamless and fluid-like shifts all day long.

KEYBOARD TRAY:

The appropriate working surface includes a rollout tray that allows you to set your keyboard at the proper height. To maintain the screen at eye level, place it on a surface that is a few inches higher than this tray. That means, if you are using a laptop, an external ergonomic keyboard may be necessary. A keyboard tray like this may be adjusted vertically and at an angle, enabling you to set up your keyboard in the most effective way. For example, when you see that your wrists are getting fatigued, you can adjust them. Ensure to keep your hands straight on the keys and your wrists not inclined left or right on the keyboard while typing. Your wrists and elbows must also be parallel and somewhat above your hands while typing, and you should not arch your hands upwards. That means you should keep your keyboard as close to the surface as possible.

Healthy Habits

  • Take breaks. When you sit at a desk all day typing, the minuscule motions you make at your keyboard add up over time and can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome sooner than you realize. Regularly take rests to minimize overusing your hands and wrists.
  • Move elbows along with the mouse. Move the mouse using your elbow than flicking it. Quick wrist motions should be avoided at all costs, as they can result in damage.
  • No tight accessories. People frequently wear tight accessories on their wrists, such as watches, hair ties, or bracelets. They mustn't be excessively tight. Blood flow in your hands and wrists must not be restricted. This may cause your hands to "sleep" and heighten your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Avoid gripping the mouse (or anything else). While you may need to keep a steady grasp on your mouse, you mustn't grip too firmly on your mouse. Reduce the force with which you grip your coffee mug and cutlery. There's no need for you to try to break your mug with your tight grasp.
  • Go easy on the keyboard. Don't use too much force when pressing the keys on your keyboard. Allow your fingers to utilize less pressure when typing organically.

Final Word

Every workplace should prioritize ergonomics. While these guidelines are only for avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome, they can also help to prevent other workplace-related problems. Carpal tunnel syndrome ergonomics may not be affordable, but treating CPS can be a time-consuming and inefficient approach. You might want to modify your office to make it more ergonomic to avoid CPS and other related issues.

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