Skip to main content

How to Manage Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at Work

How to Manage Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at Work

If you have wrist or hand pain and are having trouble performing everyday tasks, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, a common condition that affects the long nerve that runs through your forearm, wrist, and hand. 

But soreness alone doesn’t mean you have carpal tunnel syndrome. To know for sure, you need an expert diagnosis from a specialist like Dr. Bryan King or Dr. Jeffrey Cuomo at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

We perform a thorough physical evaluation to determine whether you have the classic carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, such as grip weakness, tingling and numbness in your hands and fingers, pain and burning sensations in your hands, and pain that radiates in your forearm. 

We also administer diagnostic tests, including ultrasound, to check for nerve compression; electromyography, to test the electrical discharges in your muscles; and nerve conduction studies that reveal slowed electrical impulses in your carpal tunnel. 

Your treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of your condition and can range from resting and icing the area to surgical intervention. Regardless of the individualized treatment plan we develop for you, you’ll want to incorporate these tips for managing carpal tunnel syndrome at work.

1. Give your wrist a rest

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when something compresses your median nerve. It may be due to an injury, an abnormally small carpal tunnel, inflammation, or your hand and wrist position. 

Whatever the cause, the best thing in all cases is to rest your wrist and allow it to heal. That may mean you need to take time off work or perform modified duties for a while.

2. Take frequent breaks

If you can’t take time away from your job, at least schedule more breaks than usual. Carpal tunnel syndrome is known as a repetitive-use injury, so proper healing requires that you stop repeating the movement that caused the problem. 

Set an alarm to remind you to stop typing, assembling, building, sorting, or any other activity that strains your wrists and hands. Talk to your employer about possible accommodations for your condition.

3. Wear a brace or glove

Certain jobs have a higher risk of causing carpal tunnel syndrome than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome are greater if you work in one of these occupations:

If you work in one of those areas, it may be tough to rest your wrist, so we may recommend a specialized glove or brace that keeps your wrist in a neutral position. You can also wear the brace at night to keep your wrist in a healing-friendly position as you sleep.

4. Work out your wrists

While resting your wrists is key to healing, too much rest can result in stiffness and pain. Drs. King and Cuomo can give you personalized exercises and stretches that will tone your muscles, reduce inflammation, and ease the pressure on your median nerve. 

You can even perform these exercises at work, gently stretching your forearms and hands to relieve tension, increase blood flow, and alleviate pain.

5. Take NSAIDs

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs better known as Advil® (ibuprofen) and Aleve® (naproxen). Using these over-the-counter pain relievers as directed can fight the inflammation in your carpal tunnel and allow healing. They can also help you make it to the end of your workday when you have a flare-up.

While it’s not an NSAID and can’t address the swelling and irritation brought on by inflammation, Tylenol® (acetaminophen) can bring relief from pain and stiffness.

6. Come see us

There’s no reason to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. You can return to work at full capacity with the right treatment. The first step is getting an accurate diagnosis, and that’s where our specialists come in. 

Most importantly, we can tailor a treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms. We monitor your progress, offer steroid injections, and perform carpal tunnel release surgery if and when necessary. 

For more information, call Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute at 205-391-4440 to request an appointment

You Might Also Enjoy...

Sprains vs. Strains: What Is the Difference?

Sprains vs. Strains: What Is the Difference?

You were playing your favorite sport or just walking down the street, minding your own business, when a sudden misstep or awkward motion ruined your day. Did you sprain or strain something? Here’s how to tell. 

3 Subtle Signs of a Foot Fracture

After a fall, car crash, or unfortunate slide tackle, you know something’s wrong with your foot — but what? Here are the classic signs indicating it could be a foot fracture.
Can Hip Pain Change How You Walk?

Can Hip Pain Change How You Walk?

It's bad enough that your hip hurts, but it could cause problems throughout your body if it changes how you walk. Here’s how painful hips affect your gait — and why it matters.

Why Do My Heels Hurt When I Wake Up?

If your first step in the morning sends a shock of pain through your foot and into your heel, you might have plantar fasciitis. Here’s what you need to know about this common but excruciating condition.

What Every Athlete Needs to Know About Tendonitis

Do you golf, run, throw, swing, swim, or pitch? If your favorite sport requires the exact same joint movement every time you play, you could be at risk for tendonitis. Here’s how to spot it, treat it, and prevent it in the future.