With so many people working from home these days in makeshift offices or at their dining room tables, some orthopedists are seeing an increase in repetitive work-related stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve that runs from your forearm through your wrist to your hand gets compressed. This compression can cause pain, numbness, and weakness.
Our experienced hand and wrist specialists at Texas Orthopaedic Associates, part of OrthoLoneStar, have extensive training in diagnosing and healing all types of wrist and hand issues, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
Part of treating this common condition is to avoid doing things to exacerbate it. Here are five things that can make carpal tunnel syndrome pain worse.
1. Ignoring the pain
Ignoring the pain or waiting for it to go away will not work when it comes to treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain, in fact, is a sign of the condition. Tingling, numbness, and weakness are also signs you shouldn’t ignore. Early diagnosis and treatment are your best ways to minimize and eventually eliminate wrist pain and weakness.
2. Not addressing underlying conditions
Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, diabetes affects your nerves, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation. By effectively managing these and other health conditions, you can reduce your symptoms and your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
3. Not having an ergonomic workstation
Overextending your wrist for prolonged periods can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, using a keyboard where your hands are not level but are, instead, tilted up or down can put pressure on your wrist. Making sure your hands, feet, and back are in optimal work positions can reduce risk and pain.
4. Never stretching or taking breaks
Often, when working from home, we skip meetings or breaks because there’s nowhere to go! So it’s important to get up and stretch every once in a while to avoid not only carpal tunnel syndrome but neck and back pain as well as eye strain.
5. Not treating your carpal tunnel syndrome
It’s essential to listen to your body and our doctor. For example, if an activity hurts your wrist, you should rest and not do that activity. If that’s not possible because it’s part of your work, be sure to follow our advice about treating your issue. Whether it’s to wear a splint, take anti-inflammatories, get a cortisone injection, or schedule surgery, don’t put it off.
Are you experiencing wrist pain? If you’re in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, call Texas Orthopaedic Associates or book an appointment online right now with one of our experienced hand and wrist specialists for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.