How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome When Typing
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a common condition where one of the main nerves gets pressured or compressed in the passage inside the palm. This can cause both wrist and fingers pain, numbness, and unpleasantness.
The leading cause of developing CTS is repetitive activities causing strain on the wrist. There are several other factors that can create a risk of developing this syndrome.
Genetics, obesity, pregnancy, and rheumatoid arthritis will increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome development.
There are several ways and options when it comes to the treatment of CTS. Of course, they will depend mostly on the stage of the syndrome. Usually, the treatments will start with physical therapy and wrist splints, but if it is severe, it might end up in plastic surgery.
Prevention of CTS While Typing
There are two things worth mentioning. The first one is that there are no ways to prevent the syndrome. Furthermore, you can only minimize the risk and lower the chances of developing CTS. The second thing is that the keyboard and typing are not the cause of this syndrome.
The main reason for CTS is constant pressure on the median nerve. What you can actually do is lower the stress and minimize the additional risk factors. While the main factors like genetics will remain, you will still have better odds if you follow a few steps and pieces of advice.
- Improve your posture. You already heard how you should pay attention to your posture while working on the computer. However, many still forget that bad sitting is not a good idea. If you have an incorrect posture, your shoulders will lean forward and shorten both your shoulder and neck muscles (this is where the median nerve starts). This can compress the nerves and affect both wrists and fingers.
- Keeping your hands warm. The chances of developing any hands and wrists pain are higher if you work in the cold. Try to adjust the temperature in your workspace so you won’t have to use a computer keyboard in cold temperature.
- Find an appropriate mouse. While people usually talk about the keyboard and CTS, you should also pay attention to your mouse. While using the mouse, you should avoid straining your wrist any more than necessary. Furthermore, try finding the mouse that won’t further strain your wrist or anyhow force you to bend your wrist. Besides, you can always get a mousepad that comes with an additional wrist rest.
- Breaks. Whatever you’re doing, it is good to take frequent breaks. If you plan on working at your computer for a longer period, don’t forget to take breaks. This will help you avoid putting unnecessary stress on your wrist. In addition, whenever you take a break, you should stretch your hands.
- Reduce grip. While sometimes it is necessary to spend several hours on a keyboard, you should try relaxing the grip on the mouse and reducing the force you use on the keyboard. Press keys as softly as needed to avoid any stress. While the “softer touch” technique is mentioned for the keyboard, it is a great idea to implement it in anything you do. Whether you are at home or work, don’t force your wrists and fingers more than needed.
- Floating wrists. When you type, you should avoid using any rest for the wrists. While this might sound confusing since most of the keyboards offer wrist rest, you should avoid using them. Because you constantly move your wrist while typing, you contort it. What you should do is keep your hands floating above the keyboard and move your entire arm when typing. This way, you will avoid any stress and pressure on your wrists and the median nerve.
While we only mentioned several methods, techniques, and advice, there are so many you could implement in your everyday life. Whatever you do, try to avoid constant repetitive hand stress, and even if you have to do something like that, consider switching hands.
Finally, wearing a wrist splint can help you keep your hands in a neutral position and protect them.