Are you happy working from home?
For some, working from home is a dream. But if conscientious steps are not taken to ensure a safe, practical work environment, this dream can soon become a painful nightmare. Hastily set up home offices have led to a rise in headaches, neck and back pain, and hand, wrist and forearm pain. This can be due to poor posture, a lack of frequent breaks, or a poorly setup work-from-home work station.
Are you feeling these likely symptoms:
- Losing strength in your hands
- Losing strength when trying to grip or hold something
- Reduced motion in your neck, rolling it side to side hurts
- Tingling, warm electrifying feeling from your neck right down to your fingers
- Headaches that last even with pain killers
What’s that pain?
People often confuse numbness and tingling in the hands with carpal tunnel syndrome. However, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are associated with weakness in the hands and a lack of grip strength. Numbness and tingling, on the other hand, are often due to cervical radiculopathy, which is a problem that originates in the neck. It’s important to address not just the symptoms, but the origin of your pain. Our doctors at Divine Spine will target the root cause of your discomfort, so that you can go back to working and living pain-free.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when your median nerve, which runs along the underside of your forearm and up your hand through a tunnel of nine tendons called the carpal tunnel, gets squeezed or compressed. It’s believed to be caused by anatomic compression and/or inflammation around the tendons. This means repetitive motion activities, such as typing, can be to blame. A less-than-ideal work-from-home set up can aggravate the negative effect of typing, magnifying the resulting pain. Typically, the symptoms start out slowly, with burning, numbness, tingling, or pain in the fingers, hands and traveling up the forearm. Swollen fingers and shocks of pain shooting through fingers may also develop. Over time, carpal tunnel can also affect your grip and ability to pinch. Carpal tunnel can, over time, lead to weakness and affect your grip and ability to pinch. As a result, this pain and discomfort can impact nearly every part of your day-to-day routine. In more severe cases, you can lose muscle at the base of your thumb or you may no longer be able to tell hot from cold just by touch.
How to Prevent and Heal
There are a few options to alleviate or even eliminate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Arranging your activity and work space using ergonomic guidelines can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. There are wrist-friendly products available, such as wraps and braces, to alleviate the repetition and strain that your wrist endures at work. For more on creating an ergonomic work station at home, take a look at our previous blog HERE.
Also, if you are at a higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome due to your occupation or other factors, you can benefit from regularly spending a few minutes per day on specific exercises. For example, you can stretch your wrist out and in by extending one arm in front of you (straight forward or slightly down), with you palm facing up (and in by facing your palm down). Use your other hand to hold the hand of outstretched arm, bend the hand at wrist and pull it lightly toward you by the palm to stretch the inner part of your wrist. Alternate to the other side. Exercises like this, that aim is to reduce muscle tension and nerve swelling that builds up throughout the day and to increase blood and lymphatic circulation, are helpful for the prevention and mitigation of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Even if you are not currently experiencing any wrist, hand or forearm strain, you should still take regular breaks from typing and stretch your wrists. Giving your hands a break and exercising them to remain strong, helps prevent pain when working from home.
Wrist pain, whether due to carpal tunnel syndrome or from other stresses, can be debilitating. You may not realize how much you move your wrist in every day-to-day activity until every movement hurts. If stretching and a proper work setup have not alleviated your pain, contact Divine Spine Yorba Linda.
Divine Spine Yorba Linda utilizes the most advanced treatment technology to restore proper posture, align your body, and create healing. If you are suffering from the various symptoms caused by poor posture, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other work-from-home related malady, call our office for a consultation; contact us HERE