What is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?
If you sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, chances are that you have most probably heard someone mention Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. So, what is it? How do I know if I have it? And how can I prevent or treat it?
The Carpel Tunnel is a passage way situated just below the wrist. It is made up of bones and ligaments. Some of the tendons and nerves that control the movements of fingers run through the passage. These tendons are covered with a liquid filled sheath that helps them to glide smoothly during movement (see picture). During repetitive movements the tendons become irritated which causes swelling and inflammation within the sheath. Because the Carpal Tunnel is made up of bones and ligaments it cannot expand to accommodate the swelling. This then causes the nerves in the hand to become pinched or compressed resulting in pain, numbness or pins and needles in the hand and fingers.
How do I know if I have it?
These are just a few of the common symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome found on the web.
- Hand and finger pain
- Tingling sensations of the fingers
- Numbness in the fingers
- Hand and wrist pain
- Weakness in specific muscles of the hand,
- Abnormal sensations including tingling and numbness
- Pain may extend up the arm
- Pain from carpal tunnel syndrome is often worst at night
- Driving and typing can aggravate symptoms
These are the two most common tests done to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Tinel’s Sign Tinel’s test is performed by tapping the median nerve along its course in the wrist. A positive test is found when this causes worsening of the tingling in the fingers when the nerve is tapped. Phalen’s Sign Phalen’s test is done by pushing the back of your hands together for one minute. This compresses the carpal tunnel and is also positive when it causes the same symptoms you have been experiencing with your carpal tunnel syndrome.
So how does one avoid getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Here are a few points on how to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (info sourced on ehow.com).
- Firstly, if your seating posture(see our previous blog post on Seating Posture) is not correct it will. Set up your work space with adjustable screens, keyboards and work surfaces to eliminate extra strain to the wrists and hands. Position your keyboard so that it is at elbow level. Your forearms, wrists and hands should be in a straight line parallel to the floor as you type.
- Use a wrist pad with your keyboard. A wrist pad is a cushioned support that rests under your wrists, runs the length of your keyboard and takes the stress off your wrists by raising them to the level of the keyboard.
- Exercise before and after work. Try the following: Stand and extend both arms out from your chest with palms facing out and fingers pointing up. Hold for a count of five. Straighten your wrists and relax fingers, then make a tight fist with each hand. Bend your wrists down and count to five. Repeat these stretches ten times for each session.
- Take short breaks every hour at work. During your break, stand up, breathe in slowly and deeply, allow your arms to hang loosely, and shake for a couple of seconds. This will prevent build-up of muscle tension.
- Sit up straight in your chair while working, and remember to tap keys lightly as you type.
- Break up repetitive types of work with other duties throughout the day so your hands and eyes get a break.
We at Nuwave hope that this blog post helps you enhance the productivity of your office. Let us know what you think, or if there is a specific topic you would like us to cover. Regards The Nuwave team. Enhancing the productivity of offices in South Africa to enable the businesses to grow and improve our nation’s economy