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Coping With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in an Office Job

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you’re not alone. This common condition affects about one in 20 adults, a figure that represents about 3% to 6% of the U.S. population. You’re at an increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome if you’re overweight or have a disease that results in inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. While the condition is often associated with typing, it’s also tied to a wide range of other occupations, such as assembly workers. 

No matter the cause, having carpal tunnel syndrome can make it challenging to complete routine tasks on the job. The repetitive hand and wrist movements required for many office tasks can exacerbate existing symptoms.

The source of carpal tunnel syndrome involves your median nerve, which controls sensation in your thumb and first three fingers. This nerve extends from your arm down to the palm of your hand through a passageway called the carpal tunnel. When swelling occurs in your wrist, the carpal tunnel narrows and exerts pressure on your median nerve, causing discomfort.

If you’re experiencing numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness in your hands and fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. The team at New Hampshire Regenerative Center LLC, in Manchester, New Hampshire, provides expert care for this condition. We can design an individualized treatment plan to help you resume work and other activities pain-free and with full function as soon as possible.

If you’re coping with carpal tunnel syndrome while working in an office job, here are some tips to help you handle common symptoms while keeping up with your daily responsibilities. 

Change the way you do things

You may get relief from carpal tunnel syndrome by changing the repetitive movements that worsen your symptoms. This can include modifying how you perform common office tasks such as typing. Keep your wrists in a neutral position on the keyboard so they’re straight without bending in or out. Keep your wrists above the keyboard so one hand doesn’t have to stretch awkwardly to reach a certain key.

With other tasks, try to switch hands when possible so each hand isn’t limited to the same motion in the same position over and over. Frequent rest breaks can also prevent overuse. 

Pay attention to the force you exert when gripping, typing, or handling tools or equipment. Try to use a lighter touch on your keyboard, and avoid holding your cell phone or pen too firmly. 

Ensure your chair and workspace are ergonomically correct. Your desk should be even with or below your wrists so you don’t have to extend your wrists at an awkward angle to type. Also avoid hunching over your desk, which can increase strain along your neck and extend to your arms, hands, and wrists. 

Get some exercise

Exercise at regular intervals before, during, and after work. This can help the median nerve glide more easily through the narrow carpal tunnel. We can recommend appropriate exercises and stretches based on your symptoms and condition. Working a stress ball between assignments can also help.

Wear gloves or a wrist brace

Try wearing fingerless gloves while you work. These can keep your hands warm and flexible, which can reduce symptoms.

A wrist brace or splint keeps your wrist in a neutral position, which reduces pressure on your median nerve. You can try wearing a brace at work during activities that make your symptoms feel worse. Wearing a brace overnight also can prevent bending it too far one way while you sleep so you don’t start your day with more pain. 

Manage your pain

If you find the discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome too intense to endure while working, you may find relief from applying cold packs to reduce inflammation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can also help relieve pain and inflammation. For more severe symptoms, a steroid injection into the carpal tunnel may provide temporary relief.

Explore regenerative medicine

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may find relief from the regenerative medicine treatments we offer. Regenerative medicine — such as platelet-rich plasma therapy — uses your body’s own cells or tissues to restore normal function to damaged areas. 

If your aching wrists are affecting your work, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. To learn more about ways to deal with this condition, schedule an appointment online or call our office for a consultation.

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