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Beating carpal tunnel syndrome at your desk job

Most people wouldn't consider working at a computer all day to be a dangerous job; however, a serious injury called carpal tunnel syndrome is common among office workers and other workers who engage in repetitive motions during the workday.

These work-related repetitive stress injuries can lead to pain, numbness, tingling sensations, cold sensations or swelling in the fingers, wrists and forearms. In some cases, the symptoms of CTS are so severe that the worker can no longer perform his or her job.

Luckily, Social Secuirty Disability benefits are often available to support these workers financially if the disabling condition impairs their ability to earn a living.

Of course, most people with CTS want nothing more than for the pain and discomfort to go away. Experts say there are a few simple steps people can take to help prevent the pain and discomfort associated with CTS, including:

Paying attention to desk ergonomics. The way your computer, chair and keyboard is set up can have a major effect on CTS. To help prevent it, make sure your keyboard and mouse are within your forearm's length. Also, the height of your chair should allow your forearms to be level with your keyboard so your wrists don't flex while you type.

Take a break to stretch. It is easy for many of us to get carried away with our work and for hours to pass without taking a break from the computer. However, our bodies aren't meant to stay in one position for that long, so it's important to take a break regularly from using your mouse and keyboard. Also, performing wrist exercises regularly can help prevent CTS.

Invest in new equipment. Today, there are many types of equipment on the market that help with CTS. One is an ergonomic keyboard, which places your hands and wrists in a more natural position. Another is a modified mouse that allows your thumb to point straight up. While these devices may take some getting used to, they might be worth a try!

Source: Fit Sugar, "Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at Work With 5 Tips," Lizzie Fuhr, Aug. 5, 2013

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