Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the nerves in your wrist and hand, leading to pain, numbness, and tingling. It can make even the simplest of tasks, like typing or holding a pen, excruciatingly painful. Although CTS is not a life-threatening condition, it can severely impact your daily life and productivity. Luckily, there are ways to manage CTS, and the first step is to identify the habits that worsen your symptoms. Here are seven habits to avoid if you have CTS.
1. Typing for Long Periods
If you spend most of your day typing on a computer, you are at a higher risk of developing CTS. The constant flexing and extending of your wrist and fingers can compress the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into your hand, causing pain and numbness. To prevent CTS, take frequent breaks to stretch your hands and fingers, and adjust your desk and chair to ensure proper posture. You can also use an ergonomic keyboard or mouse, which are designed to reduce strain on your hands and wrists.
2. Holding Your Phone for Too Long
Using your phone for prolonged periods can also contribute to the development of CTS. When you hold your phone, you are putting pressure on the nerves in your hand and wrist, which can cause inflammation and pain. To prevent CTS, try to limit your phone use, or use a hands-free device instead. When you do use your phone, hold it with both hands instead of just one, and take frequent breaks to stretch your hands and fingers.
3. Sleeping On Your Wrist
Sleeping with your wrist bent can compress the median nerve, leading to pain and numbness in your hand. To prevent CTS, try to sleep on your back and keep your arms straight by your side. You can also wear a wrist splint to keep your wrist in a neutral position while you sleep.
4. Carrying Heavy Bags
Carrying heavy bags, such as a purse or backpack, can put a strain on your shoulder and neck muscles, leading to poor posture and increased pressure on your wrists. To prevent CTS, try to carry lighter bags and distribute the weight evenly across your body. You can also use a rolling bag or backpack to reduce the strain on your shoulders and wrists.
5. Gripping Objects Too Tightly
If you grip objects too tightly, you are putting pressure on the nerves in your hand and wrist, which can lead to CTS. To prevent CTS, try to grip objects lightly and use tools or devices that require less force to operate. You can also use padded gloves or grips to reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.
6. Repetitive Motions
Repetitive motions, such as using a hammer or screwdriver, can cause strain on your wrists and hands, leading to CTS. To prevent CTS, take frequent breaks, and switch between tasks to avoid making the same motion for an extended period. You can also use power tools or other devices requiring less force.
7. Poor Posture
Poor posture can contribute to the development of CTS, as it puts additional strain on your neck, shoulders, and wrists. To prevent CTS, try to maintain proper posture when sitting or standing, and adjust your desk and chair to support your spine and arms. You can also use a wrist rest to keep your wrists in a neutral position while typing or using a mouse.
CTS can be a painful and debilitating condition, but there are ways to manage it. By avoiding these seven habits that worsen CTS symptoms, you can reduce pain and inflammation and improve your quality of life. Remember to take frequent breaks, stretch your hands and fingers, and use ergonomic devices to reduce strain on your wrists and hands.
If you are experiencing discomfort or pain in your hands or wrists, don’t wait to seek treatment. Turn to the expert orthopedic hand specialists at North Florida Hand and Wrist. Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible care for conditions such as CTS. With state-of-the-art surgical facilities and a commitment to patient-centered care, we can help you find relief through carpal tunnel syndrome treatment and other procedures. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment.