Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most commonly reported work-related injuries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it results from compression of the median nerve at the wrist and can cause symptoms of weakness, tingling and numbness of the hand, especially the first three fingers.
CTS is a repetitive stress injury that frequently affects people who work on assembly lines or use vibratory tools. Office workers may also be at risk. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops slowly, but there are ways that a worker in any profession may be able to prevent it.
Avoid cold temperatures
It is not entirely clear why, but exposure to cold can make symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worse. If it is not possible to modify the temperature of the work environment, wearing gloves can help protect from the cold.
Take frequent breaks
Resting the hands from repetitive activities helps to relieve the stress on the tissues of the carpal tunnel. Frequent, short breaks during which one takes the opportunity to shake out one’s hands can help.
Not all studies show that exercising the hands helps to relieve or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. WebMD recommends that patients try exercises in addition to other treatments and preventative measures.
Changes to the workspace can make it more ergonomic, and therefore less likely to cause injury. As it relates to a computer workstation, for example, workers should arrange it so that the wrists do not need to bend in either direction to reach the keyboard and that everything that one uses during the day is within easy reach.