Office workers spend a significant portion of their day engaged in computer-related tasks while seated at desks. While their jobs do not involve the same amount of physical exertion as some positions, they are still at risk of sustaining injuries.
Sitting for extended periods in an uncomfortable position can do damage to the neck and spine. More specifically, office workers who have to type a great deal can develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury affecting the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist. Generally, workers develop it from repetitive motions of the hand and wrist, including typing.
What are the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can manifest in numerous ways. Common symptoms include:
- Numbness, tingling or a “pins and needles” sensation in the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers
- Weakness in the hand, increased clumsiness and difficulty gripping objects
- Pain or discomfort radiating from the wrist up the arm or aching or burning sensations in the affected hand
While these are not exclusive to carpal tunnel syndrome, they are indicators of it. They also tend to worsen at night, often leading to disrupted sleep.
Brownmed states that research shows four to ten million Americans have carpal tunnel syndrome. Precautions like ergonomic equipment and regular breaks can help prevent its development. When workers develop it because of their work conditions or duties, they may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to help them through the treatment and recovery process.