One of the dangers of the modern workplace is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. CTS can occur when you spend long hours at your computer typing without sufficient breaks, incorrect posture, or badly placed keyboards and monitors.
The effects of CTS can be devastating. It leads to muscle damage, weakness in your wrist, pain and numbness; all in your hand, fingers and wrist, exactly the appendages you most need to perform most computer-based tasks. But there are many ways to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Ergonomics, the field involved in making work safer, healthier, and easier, has shown the way toward a CTS-free workplace, and it all begins with the wrist.
The main nerve in your wrist is called the Median Nerve. It supplies feeling and animation to the whole of your hand, including fingers. CTS occurs when undue pressure is put on this nerve, leading to debilitating symptoms and a major loss of productivity and health at work. To take the pressure of your Median Nerve, you need to follow a few basic procedures and guidelines laid out by ergonomic innovation and science.
1) Keep your keyboard or laptop base at an elevated angle, or at least flat. Keyboards that aren’t elevated, or worse, are elevated in front (where you rest your wrists) rather than the back, can contribute to CTS by putting a lot of pressure on your Median Nerve. To solve this problem, if you have it, there are a number of products you can use.
If you’re using a laptop, then CoolFeet laptop feet, well-designed pegs that elevate the back of your laptop, angling the keyboard toward your wrists. Other products, like the an ergonomic Keyboard Tray, lower your keyboard below the level of your desk or monitor, again relieving stress and pressure.
2) Keep your wrists stiff and straight. This can be achieved with products like Gel Palm desktop and mousepad pads. These come with a gel-filled support shelf on the front, to support and strengthen your wrists as you type and work.
Avoid wrist anchoring
3) Properly orient your monitor. It’s important to keep your monitor at an appropriate distance from your eyes, so you don’t have to lean forward to see it, putting pressure on that Median Nerve. If you need extra mobility when it comes to Monitors, products like the M2 Monitor Arm by Humanscale will come in handy.
4) Maybe the most important rule is to take breaks. Take many short breaks instead of a few long ones; pressure has to be relieved regularly for the breaks to be truly effective at all.
Ergonomics have led the way toward less workplace discomfort, injury, and ill health. These products and guidelines will go a long way toward making CTS a thing of the past.