Tips to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Published on April 27, 2015

Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

Tips to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Prevent carpal tunnel syndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a relatively common cause of tingling, numbness and pain in the hands. The condition, resulting from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist, is not confined to people in a single industry or job, but is especially common in those performing assembly line work, such as manufacturing, cleaning and packing. People who frequently use computer keyboards can also develop the condition.

Illnesses, pregnancy, and obesity can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Women are three times more likely than men to develop the condition.

Carpal tunnel syndrome arises slowly, and you may feel the early stage effects more at night or when you first wake up in the morning. The feeling is similar to the "pins-and-needles" sensation. During the day, you may notice pain or tingling when holding things or working on a computer.

“There isn't one definitive cause of carpal tunnel syndrome,” explains Andrew Hsiao MD, an orthopedic surgeon at PIH Health Hospital - Whittier. “When there is swelling or inflammation in the carpal tunnel area of the wrist, the median nerve can be compressed and cause pain.” Symptoms may be present in one or both hands (usually symptoms develop in your dominant hand first).

Follow these tips to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Maintain general good health. This includes staying at a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising.
  • Stretch hands and wrists regularly.
  • Take frequent rest breaks to shake arms and legs, lean back and change position.
  • Use hand and wrist movements that spread the pressure and motion evenly throughout your hand and wrist.
  • Avoid activities that bend or twist the wrists for long periods of time.
  • Switch hands and change positions often when you are doing repeated motions.
  • Use good posture.
  • Wear a wrist splint when you cannot control your wrist motion, such as while sleeping, that keeps your wrist in a neutral position—not bent too far forward or back.
  • Do not ignore symptoms, like tingling or numbness you have in your hand and wrist, or sudden sharp, piercing pain that shoots through the wrist and up your arm.
  • If you feel that certain work activities are causing numbness or pain in your finger, hand or wrist, talk to your human resources department. Ask about different ways of doing your job, having your workspace evaluated or adding ergonomic tools and workstations.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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