Working an office job can mean your afternoons are a blur of waiting for the final hours to tick by, so you can get off the clock. Working an office job also means you are more likely than the general population to experience a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates in Daly City, San Francisco, and Atherton, California, our team of medical professionals can examine your wrists and tell you whether or not you have repetitive movement injury like carpal tunnel. Then we can lay out a plan to take away your pain and help you feel more productive again.
The anatomy of the wrist
Your wrist is a kind of tunnel with a ligament running along the top and bones forming the sides and bottom of the tunnel. The median nerve runs inside this tunnel, surrounded by nine separate tendons and covered by membranes.
When the membranes get inflamed, they swell and press on the median nerve, causing it to become pinched against the ligament at the roof of the tunnel. The result is numbness and/or pain in the affected hand, often starting in the palm near the base of the thumb and radiating outward. You might notice you wake up in the morning with your hands having “fallen asleep,” or you might feel tingling or itching that won’t go away.
Carpal tunnel treatment
If you work an office job, your risk of carpal tunnel is triple that of most people. The repetitive motions associated with typing and cause damage to the wrist and median nerve. If left untreated, you could end up with loss of function.
At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, we can help carpal tunnel with physical therapy, medication, cortisone injections, or even a surgery called carpal tunnel release. However, the best way to avoid long-term damage is to take preventive action.
Office tips for carpal tunnel prevention
Taking frequent breaks and flexing your fingers and wrists or shaking out your hands can help loosen tendons and prevent inflammation. Some people take up yoga or try a hobby like crochet to move their hands in different ways and make their wrists more flexible. If you can rotate tasks throughout the day, this can also break up repetitive motions.
An ergonomic workspace can also reduce your risk of carpal tunnel. Make sure your computer screen is directly in front of you, and position your chair height so your forearms are level with your keyboard. Invest in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse setup, so your wrists are supported at all ties. Sitting up straight with your arms and wrists properly positioned is the best preventive action you can take.
If you have numbness, tingling, or pain in your wrists, and you spend a lot of time at your desk typing, you may have the start of carpal tunnel. Call one of our convenient offices for an appointment, or book online today.