It’s all too common how people are inhibited from doing their work because of injury or are forced to stop their work for long periods as they recover at home – sometimes meaning no income. This may be relative to any work industry however as you are reading this at your desk I want to point out the repetitive strain caused by computer operating – Carpal tunnel syndrome.

At the site of your wrist, is the ‘carpal tunnel’. This is a hollow area grooved by the tiny bones that form your wrist. Inside this tunnel, run numerous tendons of muscles that allow you to type, make a fist, close your fingers, hold a shopping bag, open a bottle etc. Amongst and outnumbered by the vast majority of these tendons is a nerve, namely the median nerve that assists such functions.

When you have been typing for hours and have been using a computer frequently throughout your career it is likely you have felt some sort of strain around your hands, wrist or elbow (and commonly your neck). These symptoms may fall under the same category of treatment for repetitive straining injury (RSI) of the wrist or Carpal tunnel Syndrome – whether it be of a short term or more serious long term chronic injury. Either way, the sooner you address it, the better.

In the nature of carpal tunnel syndrome, the tendons of your muscles become severely inflamed as a result of chronic, repetitive activity with short periods of rest and little or no attention to repair. When this happens, they consume most or all of the space that exists inside the tunnel at your wrist. This consequently obstructs the pathway of your median nerve and so the nervous supply becomes severely limited or inhibited all together. This can cause numbness, tingling, reduced ability to hold something, type, turn, grapple an object etc. If you continue to work through this, the damage becomes worse and can cause your muscles to fatigue even more (placing more damage on your nervous tissue).

Any inability to perform a task with your hands can be heightened by the posture of your neck and shoulders. It is common amongst computer operators to present with increased stress in these areas because of the position your body assumes in front of the computer. If the muscles in your neck and shoulders become tense, they can also obstruct the path of your nerves and blood supply to your arms and hands, heightening the problem – from a distant location.

To help reduce your symptoms and ideally correct and overcome your injury you will need to re-assess the ergonomics of your work-station. This is popular for many companies but if this isn’t the case for you, I recommend you ask your boss or OHS representative. This can make a massive difference in your recovery and prevention of injury.

Try to make sure your work environment is free of clutter, has appropriate ventilation and lighting and isn’t too hot or cold. Making sure these are correct can decrease your stress and muscle tension, making you feel much better.

To directly address your Carpal tunnel syndrome or any related symptoms massage therapy can sooth the muscles in your arm, minimising the severity of inflammation that is blocking your nerve. Massage therapy will also push any stagnant blood that has been trapped in the tight and stiff muscles and make way for fresh blood which in turn delivers oxygen and nutrients – necessary for the recovery of your muscles, tendons and the maintenance and prevention of a secondary injury. Posture awareness is also a benefit of receiving massage – helping your neck and overall spinal position.

Along with your massage treatment, specific stretches can be given to you that will help your recovery while you are at home. It is important to stretch because this is a big preventative measure and teaches you how to look after yourself while you are at work.

If you or someone you know needs help with carpal tunnel syndrome and would like a massage and help with some stretches send me an email: gloria@backonyourfeet.com.au or call 02 92 333 800. I will work close with you to get the results you need. It’s not worth the stress to continue pushing through your pain. I’ve seen too many cases where people put work before their own health. Don’t fall into this category!