Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Most who have been working from home since the pandemic started two years ago, they may have experienced various challenges in doing so. While a work-from-home arrangement has greatly benefited a lot especially in terms of maximizing time and reducing costs, it has also posed new problems.
Most homes are not designed for office work, nor some have a designated area to do a typical 8-hour desk work. Corporate offices are normally designed ergonomically – minimizing physical discomfort by taking into consideration the human body and its natural position and movements. Thus, offices use desks and chairs that work with the body’s angles, thus properly supporting it and preventing acute or chronic injuries.
Because of work-from-home setups that are less than ideal, it has resulted in different hand and arm pain and injuries. One of the most common conditions is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is when the median nerve, that runs through the wrist, gets squeezed or compressed.
This results in the tingling, numbing, pain, or burning sensation of the fingers, as well as tingling from the forearm to the shoulder. The hand can also feel weak or clumsy, thus resulting in dropping things or being unable to hold things steadily.
Carpal tunnel happens when the wrist remains in a cramped position for long periods of time, which usually when typing on a computer. If this is not immediately addressed, the pain or tingling can worsen. Subsequently, the hand muscles get pulled, thus rendering the thumb and little finger to lose its grasp or strength.
Carpal tunnel syndrome may start gradually. As long as the median nerve remains compressed or squeezed, it doesn’t heal, and worse, the nerve damage then becomes irreversible. Treatment options may involve wearing a split, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, avoiding activities or changing habits that trigger the condition, doing physical therapy, steroidal injections for the pain, and in some cases, surgery.
Prior to hand pain exacerbating into a carpal tunnel syndrome condition, there are other ways to prevent this:
Ensure that the home office set-up is designed ergonomically. Having a desk that has the appropriate height to ensure that the forearms are parallel to the floor and with the shoulders relaxed and the elbows positioned between 90 to 120 degrees.
Sitting properly with the help of an office chair that is ergonomic avoids back pain and helps in supporting good posture.
Using a laptop stand on the desk that will bring it at a natural slightly downward gaze will help. The computer monitor can be adjusted to prevent straining of the head, neck, and shoulders.
Taking regular breaks, changing positions, and doing “desk exercises” such as stretching and standing-up will help in straining the muscles and reduce cramping the wrists.
If hand pain still persists or worsen, it is important to get it diagnosed the soonest. Your physician will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment. Your physical therapist can also assess and evaluate for the proper physical therapy treatment for your condition. If done early, the pain can be reduced or eliminated and surgery can potentially be avoided.
Arise Physical Therapy, with their highly qualified physical therapists, can help diagnose and resolve hand pain issues and recommend the proper therapy. You can book an appointment with them today.