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Posted by Bethaney Wallace on March 14, 2014
Each day, thousands of Americans suffer from pains associated with carpal tunnel. Hailing from repetitive motions, their symptoms might come from typing on a keyboard, texting multiple times per day, or simply performing the same motion over and over again. Such as changing tires or working along a factory assembly line. However, the effects of carpal tunnel can also be increased by not properly taking care of one’s wrists and arms. Sleeping with too much weight on the shoulders is a surefire way to induce wrist pains (as the connective nerves host excess weight and pressure). While leaning on elbows can decrease circulation in the arms.
To help keep your carpal tunnel symptoms at bay, stay away from these 10 activities. All of which have proven to increase wrist pains while lowering arm productivity.
10. Ignoring Ergonomics
Though some of the rules behind ergonomics may sound menial, they can offer a world of difference. Failing to keep elbows at a 90-degree angle or sit with feet flat on the floor can cause some serious pains. Follow each step to a T for the best carpal tunnel-fighting results.
9. Frequent Texting
Texting throughout the day can cause your thumbs to cramp up. Rather than typing on a tiny screen, consider apps that allow you to drag your finger, speak, or use auto responses. The less time spent hunching fingers over a small screen, the better.
Slouching while typing (or just sitting) slows up body circulation. Pull your shoulders back and keep the head level to increase blood flow with minimal efforts.
7. Excessive Typing
Do you type constantly throughout the day? This is actually a very unnatural setup for the hands and can lead to chronic wrist pains. If you must type, consider a natural keyboard, where the keys are split to allow for better shoulder posture. Or, use a wrist rest to avoid pressure that sits on the base of your hands.
6. Sleeping Wrong
Even if it’s most comfortable to sleep on your side, this could greatly increase the effects of carpal tunnel. Keep your weight off of the arms and shoulders for maximum resting abilities.
5. Avoiding the Signs
When hands or shoulders cramp, it’s time for a break. Ignoring these initial triggers can lead to more dramatic muscle and nerve damage later on. (In contrast, taking a short break can give hands and wrist a chance to recover from their repetitive session.)
4. Not Exercising
Whole body exercise is great to get the heart pumping, but if that isn’t your thing, focus on the arm region instead. Stretching and performing simple movements can easily lessen the effects of carpal tunnel. Especially when focusing on muscles that don’t get used during the day.
3. Tense your Muscles
Whether gripping a mouse or working along a conveyor belt, keep your muscles relaxed. Tightening up will create pressure and stress, which can only add to your symptoms. (More often than not, we are tense without even realizing it.) A few times an hour, take a “stress check” and make sure your muscles are settled and relaxed. Over time, it’s a routine that will continue to come naturally.
2. Use Office Supplies that Don’t Fit
Believe it or not, your office supplies should fit your body size. Small people should use a small mouse and a shorter desk, while taller folks should opt for larger models. Finding the best gear to fit your features can help account for better placement and resting positions. (Best of all, these adjustments automatically work in your favor.)
1. Keep your Extremities Warm
Perhaps one of the weirdest ways to advance carpal tunnel is with cold hands. When fingers aren’t receiving enough blood flow, they (along with wrists), have a much higher chance at damaging muscles. To avoid this simple fix, keep your hands warm by cranking up the head or opting for some very stylish typing gloves.