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New York Personal Injury Law Blog

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

You’ve probably heard of Carpal Tunnel before, and with the amount of typing and writing that the average American performs each day, you’ve probably had concerns about getting this debilitating syndrome. This nerve dysfunction affects millions of individuals and can cause excruciating pain even when performing the smallest everyday tasks.  The good news is that you can take some effective preventative measures with relatively effort little effort. These include the following:

1- Set up your work environment properly and ergonomically

  • Arrange your workspace such that it’s centered in front of your torso and at elbow-height so that elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle
  • Adjust your seat height so that your feet rest flat on the floor to reduce lower back strain
  • When talking on the phone, use a headset so your neck and head aren’t in awkward, twisted positions
  • Angle your keyboard by popping up its legs
  • Use an ergonomic V-shaped keyboard
  • Use a flatter mouse to help you avoid bending your wrist

2- Straight wrists are happy wrists

  • When you bend your wrists, the carpal tunnel constricts and puts pressure on the median nerve. That being said, computer-users should be conscious of mouse movement and move the device from the elbow—never use your wrist as the pivot point.
  • Because many blood vessels are at the surface of the wrist, putting pressure here will interfere with circulation and increase your chance of injury. Using a wrist rest does exactly that, doubling pressure inside the carpal tunnel. Wrist rests also encourage wrist movement as opposed to arm movement because the wrist sinks into the rest and locks your forearm into one position. Don’t use them!

3- Take breaks in 10-15 minute intervals and stretch every 20-60 minutes. Set alarms so you won’t lose track of time and forget to do so!

How do you stretch your carpal tunnel? Good question.

Take a break and stand up, put your palms together just below your chin (as if you were praying). Slowly lower your hands and arms to your waist level so that your arms make a straight, flat line and you feel a stretch in your forearms. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and repeat several times.

If you can’t stretch in such fashion, clench your fists and extend your fingers a few times and shake out your hands.

For the more paper-and-pen-reliant folks, we encourage you to use big pens with oversized, soft grips and ink that flows easily. This prevents you from holding the pen too tightly or pressing too hard on paper. The general rule is less pressure, less strain.

If you ever start to sense a kind of tingling or numbness on the inside of your wrist, see you doctor—Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is serious business.


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