If you spend many hours a day working with your hands, it’s vital that you understand how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome at work. Common preventative measures include:
- Taking regular breaks to stretch your hands
- Keeping your wrists in a natural, comfortable position rather than bent or crooked
- Wearing a wrist brace as necessary
- Minimizing stress and pressure on your wrists
Stretch to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Your risk of developing a workplace injury like carpal tunnel syndrome may increase if you perform the same hand motions over and over again without a break. That type of repetitive motion puts pressure on the nerve running through your wrist (the median nerve) and could cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you regularly take a few minutes out of your day to perform stretches designed to keep the wrist limber and “open,” you could keep the joint healthier for longer.
Before you begin any new exercises, talk to your doctor about which ones might work safely for you. As the Mayo Clinic states, trying to perform certain stretches if you already have carpal tunnel syndrome could actually worsen your condition.
Watch Your Wrist Placement at Work
People who spend a lot of their day typing, using vibrating equipment, drawing, painting, or performing other repetitive hand motions should be aware of how they flex their wrists.
For example, if you use a keyboard, make sure that your desk and chair are at the right heights. Adjust them if necessary. If you sit too high or too low, you likely have to curve your hands into an unnatural shape as you type. Ideally, your wrist should be straight or minimally flexed.
Wear a Wrist Brace at Work
A wrist brace supports the joint and helps to keep it straight. This prevents the kind of unhealthy bending motions that could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have already tried adjusting your wrist placement on your own, or if you have already developed symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, a brace could relieve your symptoms and prevent your condition from worsening.
It’s best to wear the brace in the environment where your wrist is under the most stress. If you are concerned about how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome at work, you should wear the brace at work as much as possible.
Minimize Wrist Stress to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Depending on what type of job you have, certain tasks (like typing or using power tools) for hours a day may be inevitable. However, the way you do these tasks could make a significant difference.
Consider the way you do your job. For example:
- If you type all day, do you hit the keys harder than necessary?
- If you write or draw, do you press down on your writing implement to make darker, thicker lines?
- If you use power tools, do you grip them tighter or use more force than is necessary to safely operate them?
If any of these examples resonate with you, you may want to reconsider the way you use the tools of your trade. Using a lighter touch could put less stress on the median nerve, which in turn could stave off carpal tunnel syndrome.
If You Already Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Tingling, pain, swelling, burning, or numbness in the fingers
- Frequently dropping or having trouble gripping objects
- Greater pain or weakness at night
If you exhibit any of these symptoms, the only way to ensure they’re caused by carpal tunnel syndrome is by going to see a doctor. Armed with an official diagnosis, you can then:
- Work with your doctor to decide on the right course of treatment (for example, maybe your doctor can prescribe medication or recommend a splint)
- Hire an attorney who can help you prove the carpal tunnel syndrome is related to your job
- Apply for workers’ compensation benefits to help you afford medical care and make up for any wages you lose due to your condition
- File a lawsuit against any party who put you at unnecessary risk (for example, your employer could be liable if they don’t carry the legally mandated amount of workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries like yours)
Compensation for Work-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You might react to your diagnosis in any number of ways. Some people need time to process this new development. Others might have been aware of the risks they faced at work, did what they could to mitigate them, and end up disappointed and frustrated when their efforts were not sufficient.
After your diagnosis, you can take action. By hiring a workplace injury attorney, you can seek rightful compensation without having to navigate the law by yourself. Your lawyer could:
- Help you apply for workers’ comp
- Determine whether you qualify to file a lawsuit
- Figure out how much compensation you qualify for
- Deal with any disputes that arise between you and the insurance companies that should pay you compensation
- Explain the pros and cons of each of your legal options so you can make informed decisions
There are many things you can do to get the resources you need after developing work-related carpal tunnel syndrome. While seeing a doctor should always be your first step, your legal options may not be as clear.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can help you figure out where to go with your case.
Is Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Work-Related? We Can Help
Knowing how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome at work is often very helpful, but these methods are not foolproof. If you developed carpal tunnel syndrome because of your job, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us online or call (818) 507-8525 today at KJT Law Firm to learn about your rights and how we can protect them.