You’re sitting at your computer keyboard typing and you start to feel numbness and tingling in your arm. You immediately think, “This must be what they call carpal tunnel!” Now what? Left untreated, the early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome could progress into a serious condition that can result in permanent weakness, numbness, and tingling in your arm and wrist. That’s why it’s important not to continue working through the pain and discomfort, but rather, take proactive steps to stop the progression of this disease. Below are 20 ways experts say you can slow down or prevent the formation of permanent damage from carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Take rest periods for your wrist whenever you are performing repetitive activities.
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour.
- Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Wear a wrist brace during the day to improve your wrist posture while typing.
- Use a split keyboard.
- Invest in an ergonomic mouse and mouse pad.
- Wear a wrist splint at night while sleeping.
- Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position. Holding a glass of water is an example of having your wrist in a neutral position.
- Use your whole hand, not just your fingers, to hold objects.
- If you can, switch hands often when you repeat movements (such as clicking a mouse).
- When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists.
- Try acupuncture. One study showed that short-term acupuncture treatment is as effective as short-term low-dose corticosteroids for mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel.
- Try acupressure. Click HERE to see how to apply this technique on yourself:
- Try yoga. People in yoga classes who were suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome have been shown to have a significant improvement in grip strength and pain reduction.
- Get deep tissue massage on the soft tissues around the forearm and wrist.
- Exercise your wrists. Click HERE to find out which exercises are best.
- Use voice recognition software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking , to reduce the amount of typing you do.
- Click HERE to try a free program called Workrave. The program frequently alerts you to take rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.
- Stretch out your neck and shoulder area. When you have carpal tunnel pain, it’s a good bet that your upper body muscles are involved. Click HERE for some good examples of how to stretch these muscles.
- Sit up straight. Poor posture has been linked to arm pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Try the above methods for preventing carpal tunnel syndrome before it becomes necessary to start taking corticosteroids or having to resort to surgery. However, if your symptoms do not get better after 1 to 2 weeks of home care, make sure to set up an appointment to see your doctor instead.
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