When you first think of a person likely to suffer from carpal tunnel, you may picture someone at a desk and on a computer all day long. While, carpal tunnel does affect those in a traditional office setting, the injury is actually more often seen in a wider variety of industries including assembly lines, sewing, and meat packing. Because carpal tunnel is an overuse injury, anyone in any field can be impacted by the syndrome.
Carpal tunnel is a medical condition that is caused by the compression of the median nerve that travels through the wrist. The main symptoms of the syndrome include pain, numbness in the hand and arm, tingling, and the loss of the ability to grip.
Given carpal tunnel affects employees in many fields, it’s important that all staff members be aware of ways to reduce the risk of developing the syndrome.
3 Steps to Reducing Risk of Carpal Tunnel
Below are three easy steps workers can incorporate into their daily routines to reduce their personal risk:
Step One: Finding Neutral
One of the easiest ways to prevent carpal tunnel is to find a neutral position when sitting. To find neutral, you want to think of your body in straight lines. Why straight lines? Keeping your body in a series of straight lines is actually our most comfortable and natural state which keeps our blood flowing at an optimal rate and reduces the risk of strain.
To find neutral when sitting, think of yourself in a series of “L” positions. Specifically,
- Keep your head and ears directly above your shoulders
- Align your hips so that they are at or above your knees
- Feet should be flat on the floor or supported on another flat surface
- Elbows should have an approximate 90 degree bend
- Hands/wrists are in a straight line with forearms
Step Two: Counter-Balance Stretches
Counter-balance stretches are important to reducing your risk of carpal tunnel because when you add them to your daily routine, you increase the blood flow to your muscles and counteract the stressors of your previous posture. A proper counter-balance stretch is held for at least 20 seconds to ensure sufficient increased circulation to the area.
Briotix only recommends counter-balance stretches that are effective and do not aggravate current symptoms or conditions.
Step Three: Frequent Movement
The final step to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel is to take frequent movement breaks throughout your day. If your workday allows it, best practices would have your take a short walk every hour to increase the blood flow throughout your muscles and counteract your previous posture. However, if your day doesn’t allow for several small walks, here are few things you can do to vary your muscle movement throughout the day:
- Rest your hands in your lap when sitting
- Rest your hands by your sides when standing
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Flex and unflex your feet and hands
Ultimately, if an employee believes they have developed carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important that they seek support. Getting the proper solutions in place that allow an employee to work in neutral will not only remedy the syndrome but also help prevent it from returning in the future.
Learn More about Briotix’s Education and Training
One of the main goals of Briotix is to improve the awareness of musculoskeletal injuries to reduce the frequency of them occurring. Our professional team of Ergonomists work diligently to provide ongoing education to our customers through on-site and virtual trainings which the goal of injury prevention and reduction.
To learn more about how our professionals can help your company reduce injuries, become more effective, and ultimately save you money, contact Briotix today. Give us a call or complete the online request form to receive a free, no-obligation price quote for your customized solution.