If you're working on a computer all day, you may be putting yourself at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand, which houses the median nerve and tendons. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This nerve controls sensations to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.
Some people are more prone to this because they have a smaller carpal tunnel, but women are three times more likely develop CTS. It can also be caused by an injury, fluid retention during pregnancy, or repetitive motions like using a mouse or keyboard. Take matters into your own hands and learn five ways to prevent the pain and tingly sensations caused by CTS.
- Revamp your setup: Be aware about your desk ergonomics at the office. Keep your keyboard, mouse, and phone within your forearm's length, and adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your keyboard. When you set your keys up this way, you don't have to flex your wrists to type.
- Prop up: Using a long pads that run along the length of your keyboard to prop up the heels of your palms. This way your forearms, wrists, and hands are in one straight line, which can prevent the nerve from getting squeezed. If your mousing hand bothers you, try a mouse pad with support and cushioning the so that you rest your wrist more comfortably.
- New keys: Setting up correctly helps, but your wrist may benefit from using a ergonomic keyboard like the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard ($50) so that hands and wrists type in a more natural position.
- Go for height: If you're using a regular mouse and it bothers your wrist, pick up a vertical mouse. The Ergoguys Wow Pen Joy Vertical Mouse ($30) works so that your thumb is pointing straight up. It may feel more comfortable on your wrist.
- Break for a stretch: Take regularly from using your mouse and typing. Regularly perform wrist stretches at your desk to promote strength that will keep your wrists safe from CTS.