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3 Work Modifications You Can Make to Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain

3 Work Modifications You Can Make to Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain

Overuse injuries due to work are incredibly common, including carpal tunnel syndrome. People who work as caterers, cleaners, hairdressers, and in offices are all vulnerable to it and many other professions. Any job that requires precise finger movements, gripping, or handling tools can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men, and the experts at Orthocenter have seen this reflected in the patients who come to us for treatment. The good news is that, man or woman, regardless of your job, there are likely modifications you can make at work to help ease the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome. 

The mechanics of carpal tunnel syndrome

The bones of your wrist are intricate, allowing you to move your hand in all sorts of useful ways. A big nerve called the median nerve passes through your wrist and helps you move your forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers. This important nerve passes through a gap in your wrist bones called the carpal tunnel.

If, for any reason, your carpal tunnel narrows, you may get pressure on your median nerve, causing the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, like tingling, burning, weakness, and so on. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a form of neuropathy because of the involvement of your median nerve.

One of the reasons that women tend to have carpal tunnel syndrome more often than men is that women have smaller wrists with a smaller carpal tunnel. 

Reasons the carpal tunnel may narrow

If your wrist is injured, you might experience inflammation in your wrist, leading to swelling in your carpal tunnel. Similarly, some health conditions, such as arthritis, can lead to inflammation, swelling, and pressure on your median nerve. 

However, the most common reason we see for carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive use, which leads to inflammation of the tendons in your wrist, causing pressure and swelling. For example, if you sit with your hands in the same position for hours at a time, you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome.  Making modifications to how you do your usual work may help.

Here are three modifications that may help ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome: 

1. Make sure your movements are efficient

If you’ve been doing a job that requires specific movements for many years, you probably feel you’re as efficient as possible. However, you may be able to make small tweaks or change subtle habits to improve efficiency and lessen pain. 

One example is that you may not be holding your hands at the best angle if you type. Talking to someone who is an expert in ergonomics may be helpful in making sure your body is positioned properly. 

2. Make small changes in how you work

If carrying things hurts your hands, consider making more trips with lighter weight. If you need to open bottles throughout the day, but it’s painful, consider using a tool to open them.

Wearing a brace to limit the flexion of your wrist can also be helpful. Your doctor can help you understand what kind of brace will be most helpful and how often you need to wear it to see benefits.

3. Talk to your coworkers

People are sometimes afraid to discuss their pain at work because they don’t want to cause conflict, but talking to your coworkers is one of the best ways to find methods to ease your pain. For example, if a specific task causes pain, you may be able to work something out with a coworker to share that task. 

Get treatment

If you’re experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome or you’ve been diagnosed with it, you should know that there are treatments that can help. We can give you guidance on bracing and modifications tailored to your situation and discuss treatments such as injections or surgery

Schedule your appointment at the location of the Orthocenter most convenient for you, and find out what your treatment options are. 

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