Managing Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome While Working from Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Affects Millions of People a Year
We are currently living in the middle of a digital age. Virtually everyone across the world has access to the internet, whether via a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. We use these devices for school, to handle our finances, and to do work. The majority of office spaces in the country have multiple computers in them, which employees must use to complete their jobs. While computers improve the efficiency and quality of work, it can also lead to unexpected and unwanted results. The repetitive motion of frequently typing on a keyboard often leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects between 4-10 million Americans a year, impacting women three times more frequently than men. A host of things can lead to the development of this condition, and one happens to be frequent typing on a keyboard. As many of you are aware, the world is still going through a global pandemic. To protect their employees and community, many companies across the country have had their employees working from home whenever possible. Thanks to computers, working from home is easier than ever. However, those with carpal tunnel syndrome may be at a higher risk.
For those that are working from home during this ongoing pandemic, carpal tunnel syndrome can severely impact your productivity. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help you manage this condition while working from home. If your pain persists, however, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group and let us help relieve your pain.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As we mentioned earlier, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. It is a nerve disorder that often occurs when too much pressure is placed on the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. Eight small wrist bones form three sides of the tunnel, thus giving it its name. The remaining side on the palm side of the hand is composed of soft tissue and the transverse carpal ligament, which stretches over the top of the tunnel.
The median nerve passes through the tunnel, along with the flexor tendons that help your fingers bend and move. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is squeezed, which can slow or even block nerve impulses from passing through the nerve. The median nerve is responsible for strength, muscle function, and feeling in the hand, controlling the thumb, index, middle, and ring finger. When it is pinched or damaged in some way, you can feel mild numbness to complete loss of function.
Common carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include:
- Tingling or pins and needles sensation in your fingers
- Hand weakness
- Weakened grip
- Burning sensation in your hands, extending into the forearm
- The urge to shake your hand out to regain feeling or reduce pain
- In severe cases, loss of feeling and complete loss of hand function
- In severe cases, loss of muscle mass
Your symptoms may appear worse when you do activities that require the use of your hands, such as buttoning a shirt or typing on a keyboard. Many people experience mild cases and never seek carpal tunnel treatment, leading to their condition worsening.
- During and shortly after pregnancy
- During menopause
- Certain medical illnesses, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more
- Repetitive hand activities, such as typing, writing, sewing, and more
- Motions that produce vibrations also worsen symptoms
Some professions are more at risk for carpal tunnel than others, such as:
- Customer service representatives
- Office clerks
- Laborers in freight and stock, material movers and handlers, and mechanics
- Janitors, custodians, housekeepers, and cleaners
- Welders and cutters
- Truck drivers
- Software engineers
Many other professions that heavily involve the use of your hands also put you at risk.
If you have been working from home throughout this pandemic and have been experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, there are countless remedies you can do at home to manage your pain. It’s highly likely that extended time on the computer can increase your risk of this condition and worsen your symptoms. Here are some useful at-home carpal tunnel remedies you can use while working from home:
- Cold therapy: When your symptoms begin to flare up, place an ice pack on your wrist for 15 minutes once or twice an hour.
- Rest: Give your wrist plenty of rest in between tasks to ensure it can heal and isn’t overworked. If your condition gets worse, take multiple days or even weeks to allow the condition to heal.
- Wear a wrist brace: A wrist brace will stabilize your wrist and take pressure off the median nerve, reducing your symptoms. You can even sleep with a wrist brace on to keep it in the appropriate position overnight.
- Shake your hand: Shaking your hand can help relieve some pain and help regain feeling in your wrist.
- Type softer: If your job requires you to type at a computer, like many working from home, try to strike keys as lightly as possible.
- Eat a healthy diet: Include plenty of anti-inflammatories in your diet to reduce inflammation in your wrist.
- Stretch your wrist: Pull your fingers back to achieve a stretch in your wrist. Push your wrist in to achieve a stretch on the back of your wrist. Squeeze a ball to strengthen your grip. Do wrist circles. There are a host of stretches out there that can improve your symptoms.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication: If your pain becomes too much, you can take over-the-counter pain meds to relieve pain.
Frisco Pain Management Clinic
Here at Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we understand how frustrating and painful living with carpal tunnel syndrome can be. If you need your hands for work, it can drastically reduce your productivity and performance. We live in stressful times at the moment, so this condition would only add to your stress. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to manage your pain. However, if your pain persists even after these tips, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group. Our team of pain management doctors offers a host of services, which can help treat your pain.