Any job that requires a keyboard can potentially threaten your wrists, and programmers know this better than most. If you’ve ever experienced numbness, pain, or tingling that shoots through your wrists and arms, you may have experienced the first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. If you want to avoid painful work hours and possibly surgery, here are some ways you can avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
You’re less likely to experience pain and discomfort while you work if you practice healthy habits in every aspect of your life. Getting enough quality sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods can help stave off symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Extra weight can inhibit the effectiveness of your nervous system, and unhealthy habits like smoking can decrease blood flow to your extremities. If you’re having trouble adhering to healthier habits, you might want to try supplementing your diet with something like Thrive Experience for a boost to your daily routines.
This may be hard to hear if you’re a workaholic, but if you want to keep your wrists healthy, you need to take regular breaks. Repetitive motions can cause increased stress that takes a longer time to recover from. Extended recovery times can impact your overall work quality. When resting your wrists, try to keep them in a straight position. A splint can help limit your movements and keep inflammation down. You can also use this time to reposition your wrists to a more comfortable position while you type. When you get back to work, pay attention to how forceful your movements are as you press the keys. You may be using more pressure than necessary. To get your hands off the keyboard altogether, you may want to give transcription a try. This may not work well for all types of programming projects, but it can still be a useful tool to pull out from time to time.
Keep your wrists from getting too stiff and painful by taking breaks to stretch. You can try a few basic wrist stretches, or you can try some yoga moves to help with your flexibility. If your workplace is cold, try getting a heater or wearing gloves to keep stiffness at bay. If your job involves other activities that don’t require a keyboard, try to sprinkle them throughout your day as little breaks for your wrists. Even if you still need your hands for something else, a different grip can help you stretch the tendons and muscles in a different way.
4. Upgrade Your Equipment
When you’re sitting at a desk for hours a day, it’s easy to succumb to poor posture. This can impact your typing position, too. In addition to getting out of your chair every so often, you may want to upgrade your equipment. If a new desk chair is out of the question, try a specialized cushion for back support. Try out an ergonomic keyboard, or find a new wrist rest. If you wear items around your wrists, like watch bands, make sure you’re not wearing anything too tight. Even supportive splints can irritate the nerves if they’re wrapped too tightly. Make sure you keep your forearms and wrists level. These little changes can make a big difference in how you feel at the end of the day.
5. Consult Your Doctor
If carpal tunnel syndrome is a big concern for you, it may be time for a doctor’s visit. A specialist can help you take a more personalized approach to preventative measures. If you’re already dealing with carpal tunnel symptoms, your doctor can help you better manage those symptoms and hopefully avoid surgery.
Not many people are able to avoid typing these days, so it’s a good idea to evaluate yourself for risks where carpal tunnel syndrome is concerned. When you’re proactive about your health, you can take the necessary steps to keep your wrists healthy throughout the length of your career.