How to Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain at Work
If you work a desk job, do demanding physical labor on a daily basis, or deal with writing and typing at work, keeping your carpal tunnel pain at bay isn’t easy. If years of working with your hands have created long-lasting nerve pain, the last thing you want to be doing is exacerbating that at work. Still, people with carpal tunnel syndrome can’t just opt out of working for a living. There will be times when you’ll be in pain at work and you’ll be expected to power through it. But if you’ve seen orthopedic hand specialist recently, you’ll know that there are more than a few ways to ease your suffering while on the job. If you want to relieve your CTS pain at work, here are a few things to try.
Carpal tunnel can flare up for any number of reasons: Bad weather, back pain, too much stress. However, if there’s one thing you can do to help your entire body feel more at ease during a long week, it’s investing in ergonomic chairs, pillows, mousepads, and whatever else you need to protect your body from feeling stress and pain from flaring up. Ergonomic business supplies aren’t that expensive and even just purchasing a keyboard with a pad attached will help you rest your hands while typing or doing other repetitive motions.
No matter how busy or stressful it gets at work, you won’t gain anything from pushing through the pain of a carpal tunnel flare-up. When your hand starts to hurt, don’t wait: Stop what you’re doing and take a five-minute break. Use this time to do stretches or simply to relax. If you need to get up and walk around, space out your breaks so you can have longer periods of rest. Whatever you do, don’t forget to pace yourself. Even though the pain seems spontaneous, it responds to stress and will feel better after periods of prolonged rest. If you’ve been typing for a while, try doing something else that doesn’t require using your hands, like reading or making a few phone calls: Whatever it takes to give your hands and wrist some downtime.
Use the Voice Memo Function
If you spend a lot of your day composing emails or writing out letters, using the voice function on your phone or desktop can be a huge help. Whether it’s more helpful to have a special program that transcribes your voice as you speak or to record yourself talking and hire a transcriptionist, the time you’ve saved from putting stress on your wrists will be worth it. Even if it takes a bit more time to get everything written out, you’ll still be getting the work done and keeping the pain at bay. The more repetitive tasks you perform, such as typing, the more inflamed your CTS will get. Any tools you can use to allow you to type less and rest more will be worth their weight in gold.
Use Braces and Supports
Never underestimate the importance of uses supports at work. Even if you don’t use your hands for your job, keeping your wrists straight and in a neutral position is hard to do on your own. When they fall out of this position, you risk inflammation and pain. That’s why investing in a strong, supportive brace or splint can help you take the pressure off your hands for longer periods of time. You can even find specially-crafted gloves that work to support your hands and keep your wrists neutral while you work. If you can invest in these tools, do so. Along with some anti-inflammatory meds and supplements like turmeric, fish oil, spirulina, and ginger, you’ll be able to keep the pain from swelling up in the course of a long workday.
Change the Temperature
When the cold weather kicks in, CTS has a nasty habit of flaring up, making the workday miserable for people who have to deal with cold, drafty offices or outdoor jobs. If you’re feeling the pain acts up, try turning the heat up if you can. Even taking a break and brewing a hot cup of tea, preferably made with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, can be a nice, soothing way to relieve the pain for short periods of time. If you wake up with a stiff, inflamed wrist during the winters, try warming your hands up with heat packs during your morning commute. Whatever you do, make sure you’re not exposing your hands to the cold during your workday.