Category Archives for "carpel tunnel syndrome"

Preventing Repetitive Strain Injuries At A Desk Job

Labour-intensive industries get a lot of attention when it comes to work-related injuries, but employees who work in office settings are also at risk. Poor ergonomics and organization can lead to common office injuries such as computer eye strains, falls and most importantly, repetitive use injuries.

Our bones and muscles make up our musculoskeletal system. This system allows us to perform activities such as walking, running, and anything requiring the movement of the body. A repetitive strain injury occurs when repeated movements produce stress on your body. Unfortunately, many office jobs require repetitive motions to fulfill our duties, and for this reason, they are the most common type of injury found in the office (WCB). Examples of repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, radial tunnel syndrome, and others.

Symptoms of repetitive strain injuries include:
  · Dull aching
  · Loss of sensation (numbness) especially at night
  · Tingling and burning sensations
  · Swelling around wrist/hand
  · Clumsiness (impaired dexterity, loss of ability to grasp items, etc.)
  · Muscle weakness, fatigue, and/or spasms

Prevention:
  · Stop or reduce the intensity of activity causing the pain
  · Taking breaks from repetitive tasks
  · While at the desk…
      · Ensure proper ergonomics
      · Avoid slouching
      · Avoid bending the wrists when typing
      · Avoid hitting the keys too hard when typing
      · Don’t grip the mouse too tightly
      · Ensure you are working in an appropriate temperature
Standing up and performing stretches such as the following:

WCB (n.d.) Office Ergonomics. Retrieved from: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/office_ergo.pdf

Stretches for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Relief

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that arises from pressure against the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Conditions that cause this syndrome may include pain or inflammation of the joints and soft tissues in the arm from obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes, lupus or dislocated bones. Work or exercise related injuries from repetitive hand and wrist movements can also cause swelling in the surrounding tendons. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe pain, numbness, and weakness in the wrist and hand.
Interventions and Exercises
In some extreme cases, surgery may be the ideal option for treatment. However, more than a third of patients do not return to work immediately after the operation and may take more than 8 weeks to recover. Therefore, physical therapy has been concluded by researchers to be as effective as surgery in reducing pain, improving function, and increasing grip strength. In one study, a combination of manual therapy focused on the neck and median nerve along with stretching exercises has shown to produce faster outcomes than those who had surgery at a 1-month mark assessment. Some stretchesthat can be done at home can be found below:

1. Rotate your wrist up, down, and from side to side. Repeat 4 times.
2. Stretch your fingers far apart and then relax them. Repeat 4  times.

3. Hold a prayer position for 30 seconds by putting your hands together in front of your stomach near the waistline. Repeat 4 times.

4. Stretch your wrist by extending one arm straight in front of you with the palm facing the floor. Then using the other hand, gently bend the downward facing hand until you reach your maximum point of flexibility. Hold this position for 30 seconds, alternate hands, and repeat about 2 times on each side. See image below.

5. Similar to stretch #4, extend one arm straight out in front of you but with the palm facing up. Then using the other hand, gently bend the upward facing hand until you reach maximum range of motion and hold for 30 seconds, alternate hands, repeat about 2 times on each side. See image above.


J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47(3):162. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.0503

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