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How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Helen WykesAug 23, 2009 | edited Aug 23, 2009 - by @HelenWykes

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects people from all walks of life. Women are more likely to develop this problem than men. This may be because women's carpal tunnel is smaller. Your dominant hand is usually affected before your non-dominant hand. Those people suffering from diabetes and other disorders of the metabolism may be more susceptible to this condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually affects adults only.

While there is little proof that repetitive movements of the hand and wrist actually cause carpal tunnel syndrome, it does seem to affect those in assembly line work much more frequently. This can be anything from sewing, cleaning, meat packing or manufacturing. A study by the Mayo Clinic in 2001 did not show that computer use increased the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. They studied people performing 7 hours per day of computer work. Nonetheless, many typists and data entry personnel find themselves afflicted with this condition every year.

Workers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome may end up missing work due to this condition. Some miss as many as ten days of work due to pain. Those that have surgery may have a long recovery period where they cannot perform their jobs. An average lifetime cost to those with carpal tunnel syndrome that includes time lost from work and medical costs is about $30,000 for each worker.

Because of this huge impact on those afflicted with this condition, it is important to learn how to prevent it from occurring if possible. Prevention can be practiced at home and at work. This is especially important if you are predisposed to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

While you are work, make sure that you take periodic breaks to stretch your hands and wrists. Your wrists need rest and when you want to make sure that your wrists stay in a good position for your work, you may find that a wrist splint is necessary. Use good posture and make sure that you sit correctly. You may want to wear fingerless gloves to keep up your flexibility. If at all possible, you need a workstation, tools and equipment that is designed to keep your body in an optimal position for your work. Ideally, tasks should be spread out among different people and ergonomic design for everything can help keep your workplace much healthier and happier.

At home, don't sit and do the same task for several hours. Alternate your activities and don't forget to get up and stretch. Exercises to relieve the strain on your wrist should be done frequently. Let your wrists rest. They don't need to be working 24 hours a day. Ice packs can be applied occasionally if they feel fatigued.

If you suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis or other disorders that increase the possibility of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, see your doctor so you can keep them under control. Take your medication and follow your doctor's advice on maintaining your health.

If you still develop carpal tunnel syndrome, don't wait to get it diagnosed. The earlier you get treatment the more effective it is. If you start early, you can often avoid surgery and heal the condition through a regimen of stretching and exercising that will relieve the stress on your wrists.

About the Author:
Dr. Charles Martin Author Aug 24, 2009
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Thank you for alerting people with diabetes about the connection with carpal tunnel. Most people are aware of the links between diabetes and heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure but the links between diabetes and other health issues are not as well known. For example, many people don't know about the links between gum disease, good oral health care and diabetes control, which is what I write extensively about on my blog at http://www.dentisryfordiabetics.com/blog.

Charles Martin, DDS
Founder, Dentistry for Diabetics

edited Aug 24, 2009 - by @DrCharlesMartin28374
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