Carpal tunnel is an arm and hand condition characterized by weakness, tingling, numbness, and other symptoms due to the pressure on the nerves on your wrist. Factors such as the anatomy of the wrist, patterns of hand use, and certain underlying problems can generally contribute to this condition. As a programmer, chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome are very high. This is because you rely on your hands to do the job.
The most common symptoms of this ailment include numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hand, wrist or fingers. However, some people may experience pain between their arms and the elbow. The signs are mostly visible in the index finger, thumb, middle finger, and the ring. If you have issues with other fingers apart from the little one it means you are suffering from carpal tunnel. This is because the little finger is connected to a different nerve. But how can you avoid this
How to Avoid CTS
- Use Ergonomic Computer Equipment – There are now specialized versions of computer chairs, desks, keyboards and mice that really help to avoid repetitive strain disorders. Do yourself a favor and research vertical mice and ergonomic chairs, they will go a long way to saving your wrist/forearm and back from problems associated with long hours at the computer. The following video from the Mayo Clinic gives some insight into the proper computer workstation:
- Take care and exercise- For you to avoid carpal tunnel for programmers, you need to take care and exercise. There is a strong connection between physical health and mental health hence exercising is very important.
- Relax your grip- While working, most people use more force than they require. If you are a programmer, ensure that you hit the keyboard keys lightly. You can also opt to use a big pen with an oversized soft grip to help you relax your grip. By doing this, you will not press hard on the paper or hold the pen tightly while you are working.
- Change your work position and improve your posture- To improve your posture, get a more ergonomic chair and vary the position of your desk. Try using a different keyboard or even experiment with other keyboard layouts such as Dvorak. More so, if you are using a mouse, try switching to trackpad or trackball. Even within mice, there are several different types that you can use.
- Take breaks- Once in while you can give your wrist and hands a break by gently bending and stretching them. You can also change what you are dong as often as possible. If you are using a machine that requires you to exert a great force taking breaks is very important. Some of these stretches are not only quick but also easy to integrate into your normal lifestyle.
- Put on a wrist splint- If you are unable to control your wrist motion while sleeping, use a wrist splint. This will ensure that your wrist is kept in a normal position so as to reduce the stress on the fingers. Apart from this, you also need to keep your hands warm. Remember, you are more likely to develop carpal tunnel for programmers if you are working in a cold environment. If you are unable to control the temperature you may consider using fingerless gloves to ensure that your arms remain warm.
Above everything else just take extremely good care of yourself, exercise a lot and get the best posture while working.