Recent research indicates carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) impacts approximately 5% of the workforce. The disorder causes pain and weakness in the hand/wrist and develops from problems with a nerve in your wrist, not the muscles, as some people believe. With CTS, the symptoms can range from mild to incapacitating pain.
While carpal tunnel affects thousands of workers each year, it is not completely known how the syndrome actually evolves. However, it is clear that the injury is related to overuse and repetitive motions of the wrist. It is often difficult to determine the precise cause of carpal tunnel, but at Briotix, we work with employers to ensure staff members have the necessary supports in place to reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel at work.
Considering Personal Risk Factors
Over the past several years, Briotix has found that on-going education for carpal tunnel has greatly reduced the number of employees who report CTS injuries. However, we have also discovered that many people do not consider activities they are doing outside of the office when thinking about carpal tunnel prevention. According to Briotix Ergonomist Cheryl Schwientek, “In my experience, people don’t always take in the effect of other activities they are doing in their lives. The risk of carpal tunnel isn’t always just from work.”
Any activity that has someone bending the wrist, using a vibrating tool, or using a repetitive motion for too long can impact the median nerve in your wrist, which can cause an overuse injury. Below are three unexpected, but daily, activities that may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Frequent and Lengthy Cell Phone Use
New research out of Britain suggests that many cell phone users are on their phone as much as five hours per day. That’s nearly one-third of our waking hours. Whether you are talking on the phone, scrolling through a news article, or responding to a text, you are holding your wrist in a non-natural position. Given the length of time many of us are doing this each day, it is easy to see how the repetitive use of our cell phones can greatly increases the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Hobbies which Involve Repetitive Motion
As mentioned above, any activity that requires repeat movement of the same motion in the wrist, or requires you to hold your wrist in one position for a long time, can increase your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these activities include:
- Cooking - specifically chopping, stirring and holding a pot
- Playing racket sports, like tennis and racquetball
- Carrying A Child
If you have small children, chances are you are carrying him or her at least a few times each day. Whenever you are carrying additional weight for an extended period of time, it causes you to shift your body into an awkward position. These awkward positions can lead to a strain on your body and wrist area increasing your risk of developing carpal tunnel.
Learn More about Briotix’s Education and Training
As mentioned above, a major component of the Briotix model is to educate our customers’ employees about the risks and causes of musculoskeletal injuries to reduce the frequency of them occurring. We employ an industry-leading team of Ergonomists who work directly with our clients to ensure we are meeting their needs on education, assessment, and support to reduce workforce injuries and save them money.
To learn more about how our professionals can reduce injuries in your company and 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.