Do you do work that causes repeated stress on your hand and wrist? If so, you would be wise to watch for symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) – aching, pain, tingling, numbness – and nip it in the bud.
Researchers have defined six key risk factors in the workplace for the development of carpal tunnel syndrome: (1) repetition, (2) high force, (3) awkward joint posture, (4) direct pressure, (5) vibration, and (6) prolonged constrained posture.
Recent work place studies show that jobs that are high risk for CTS include occupations that combine force and repetition of the same motion in the fingers and hand for long periods. Such workers include those in the meat and fish packing industries and workers using vibrating tools, like jackhammers or chain saws. Workers on assembly lines, from assembling airplanes to food and beverage processing, also have high risk of CTS. In addition, risk for CTS has been reported in other job such as cake decorators, postal workers, dentists, and dental technicians.
An increased number of people using computer keyboards, and the computer mouse, are developing CTS. Many of these workers may not even be aware of the amount of force they exert while performing their jobs. For example, the fingers of typists whose speed is 60 words per minute exert up to 25 tons of pressure each day – can you believe it?
If you are retired don’t think you’re exempt from developing CTS. People who engage intensively in certain domestic occupations, including knitting, sewing and needlepoint, cooking, housework, carpentry, and extensive use of power tools, are also at risk. Many leisure activities in the home can contribute to the development of CTS, including computer games, sports, and card playing.
So much for the bad news – now for the good. There are tips for “nipping CTS in the bud.” The first thing is to be aware that you are involved in high-risk activities for CTS. Then there are ways to give your hand and wrist relief. Also, you can give the hand a rest by learning how to use your non-dominate hand.
Every time you write, whether its something you do a lot for a living, or just writing your grocery list, use an ergonomic pen such as my UGLee Pen. A pen such as mine will be a rest for the hand, and thus won’t aggravate CTS, or cause added stress and strain on the hand. Any time you can let your hand and wrist rest, no matter what activity you are involved in, you’ll diminish the opportunity for carpel tunnel syndrome to surface.