Chances are, you have heard the term “carpal tunnel syndrome” batted around your office now and again, not to mention in the media. But is it really as big of a risk as people say?
Yes, yes, and did we mention, yes? Here’s why: carpal tunnel syndrome in even its mildest form can cause tingling in your wrists and hands and can lead to decreased mobility and strength, with radiating effects up and down your musculoskeletal system. At the very least, this kind of pain can significantly inhibit your ability to concentrate on the job and can therefore lower your productivity rates — not to mention your ability to think creatively or work long hours to produce the best product possible. In its most severe form, carpal tunnel syndrome often requires surgery that can be painful and necessitate taking off a fair amount of time for work. As you recover, your efficiency at your desktop will still be lower than what it used to be, and you may never fully recover your full range of motion.
So, what can you do to prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome?
1. Create an ergonomic workspace.
A split ergonomic keyboard allows your wrists and hands to type in their most natural position, rather than forcing them into a splay. This will make typing much more comfortable, even as you repeat the same fine motions day in and say out. The same goes for an ergonomic mouse, which will provide the support your wrist and hand need as they navigate across your desktop for hours on end.
2. Take breaks.
Neither the human body nor the human mind were made to work for 8 to 10 hours straight without taking any kind of break. Try stopping at the very least every 45 minutes or so to stretch at or around your desk. Doing so will relax your tendons and alleviate pressure.
3. Get moving outside of work.
Again, it’s generally a good idea to get your body moving in new and interesting ways — and there’s nothing like playing a sport, working out at the gym, or doing a good round of yoga to mix things up and challenge your muscles. Strength training can also be a great way to develop any complementary muscles that might weaken throughout long days of contraction, but proper technique is key for avoiding further injury.
For an in-depth look at this topic, we highly recommend reading this guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.