Neuropathic pain is often characterized by burning, piercing, or tingling sensations. Often, neuropathic pain is chronic, and might only go away with proper treatment. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathic pain is caused by injuries to the median nerve, which is a nerve that connects the wrist to the length of your arm. Often, these injuries stem from the strain placed by repetitive motions. Jobs in healthcare put employees at an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome due to the repetitive motions found in usual tasks, from healthcare administrators doing work on the computer, to nurses regularly pumping blood pressure bulbs and administering shots. If you think your job puts you at the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, here are a few things you can do to prevent symptoms.
Take frequent breaks
Since one of the main causes of carpal tunnel is repetitive strain, you need to give your hands a break every now and then. You especially need to avoid spending too much time in positions that require bending or twisting. If you need to perform these movements, you can also change hand positions every now and then to refresh your wrists, or switch hands during the task.
Ensure correct wrist position
Proper hand positioning is key to avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome. Whenever possible, keep your hands at a neutral position, with your palms aligned with your wrists. This position puts less pressure on the median nerve, thus reducing the risk of compression. When doing work on the keyboard, keep your wrists straight, with your hands floating above the keyboard.
Have proper workstation design
Having improper workstation design can exacerbate the strain caused by repetitive motions. You can easily correct this by investing in ergonomic accessories and equipment. Ergonomic accessories are designed to alleviate stress, pressure, and tension, caused by repetitive motions people tend to do while working. Get an ergonomic accessory to correct improper postures and provide comfort for tired muscles, nerves, and joints. For example, if you work long hours at the computer doing administrative work, you can get a wrist rest to alleviate stress on your wrists. You can also opt for an ergonomic mouse, which will promote correct posture and thus reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel.
Perform stretching and strengthening exercises
Do wrist exercises to improve blood circulation and promote muscle mobility. Though this isn’t a guaranteed way of preventing carpal tunnel, it can decrease the likelihood of developing symptoms. One of the simplest exercises you can do is the shake. Here, all you need to do is shake your hands as if you’re trying to dry them. If you shake your hands for one minute every hour, you can loosen your flexor muscles and prevent them from getting too cramped.
Carpal tunnel can be detrimental to healthcare work. The pain and numbness from damaged nerves can prevent you from being able to properly do the tasks your job requires of you. Taking breaks, redesigning your workstation, and exercising your wrists are some of the ways you can reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.