Fighting Carpal Tunnel: Ways to Prevent It

I’ve been feeling the very beginnings of carpal tunnel, some aching in my hands and wrists.  Normally I ignore little nagging pains, but I’m not going to mess around with this at all.  I’m taking action, immediately.

The aches came on during a huge writing week.  I wrote something like 10,000 words on my trusty laptop and that, I fear, is the problem.  Slouched on a couch, bad wrist angle … my keyboard is a source of income for me, so I need to be smart here.

Here’s what I’m doing:

Ergonomics.  I moved to a table to straighten my wrist angle which helped right away.  You want the line from the bend of the elbow to be straight, flowing to the top of the hand with the knuckles curving down towards the keyboard.  This keeps the wrist straight so the nerves traveling into the hand don’t get constricted or pinched in any way.

Writing smart. I can plow through a lot of writing in a short amount of time, so I would schedule a day to just write and write and write.  Now I’m spreading it out and taking breaks.

Being careful with social media. I can hang out on social media for hours, some of it is work related now, but a lot of it is just me chatting with folks.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to curtail this a bit to give my hands a break.

Yoga. Yoga is the only exercise I have found that has clinical studies linking it to improvements with carpal tunnel.  So a few downward dogs and planks in the morning seem to help a lot.

Stretches.  The physical therapists recommend this and I’ve been doing it; it definitely helps.  Bend the top of your hand back towards your elbow.  I’ve been doing this up against a wall, or just by grabbing with my opposite hand and pulling.  Hold for 30 to 60 seconds (or longer) until you feel your forearm muscles start to release.

Traumeel.  Traumeel is a homeopathic salve I discovered during a hiking trip last summer.  It saved my knees from brutal mountain trails and it’s helping my hands and wrists now.

Doing Other Things. Unstrapping from the computer and doing other things helps a lot.  My wrists always loosen up when I cook or clean or do Pilates or even Spinning.  When I’m not working, everything feels better.  But since I’m in start-up mode with my social media company, this is easier said than done.

Here’s what I firmly believe.  Carpal Tunnel is totally preventable.  If you wind up with it, you did it to yourself.  I know the pressure of getting work out the door, and that it simply has to get done, but there are ways you can mitigate the situation and the biggest thing is to NOT ignore those early tingles.

I hope this helps other people; if you’ve gotten carpal tunnel and have some ideas to share please do. I’d welcome the help!