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Carpal Tunnel vs Work Productivity, Part 2

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Little unknown fact: in comparison to other medical conditions and injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common reasons employees are absent from work. Frequent absence will show your company you are disposable. If you are disposable, why should they keep you around, especially if you are racking up huge medical bills? And there we have a vicious little cycle from this vicious little medical condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

More so than ever before, this condition has been disabling women at a rapid rate, causing them to frequently miss work, skip participating in their favorite activities, rendering them unable to do simple household chores and forcing them to put their husbands on daddy duty. So, if carpal tunnel is so common, what should these women do to get back in saddle and prevent them from losing their job - and lifestyle - completely?

It’s time to start making changes in the work place now.

The first step is to speak with your human resources department. It’s important to be upfront about the pain you are enduring throughout the work day. Maybe you can work together to come up with a few different ways to do your job everyday to take some of the strain off your wrists. Change of equipment? A more efficient workflow method? Rotating teamwork? It’s certainly worth a shot.

Also, these days computers have nifty little gadgets to help ease the pressure on your hands while typing, such as wrist rests and split keyboards. Try suggesting to human resources about the possibility of the company investing in some for those experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms. More than likely your company will want to invest in something like that because it will increase your productivity, which they obviously benefit from. There should be a two way street between you and your company, so don’t be afraid to ask and make suggestions.

As I mention in almost every article I write for you, keeping a healthy active lifestyle is the best way to suppress any and almost all medical conditions. Since that is not feasible for everyone - especially in this economy - let me mention some things you can start doing on your own at home and in the office to help ease your carpal tunnel symptoms. I know I can’t ask you to start writing with your left hand instead of your right or put a halt to text messaging - especially if it’s the only way your kids will communicate with you - but I will ask you to be mindful of these tips to save your wrists.

1. When using your hands in a repetitive motion (like typing), try to keep your wrists in a neutral position to ease the stress on your fingers. Look into investing in a wrist splint. They give great support and are not too hard on your wallet.
2. When lifting something small or light, try to lift with your whole hand, not just your fingers.
3. Hand therapy – which can be done at home – is a great technique to decrease swelling and pain and increase circulation.
4. Use a light grip with writing and eating utensils and/or the least force necessary in using a tool or utensil to relieve some pressure and tension in your fingers.

As a last resort, carpal tunnel release surgery is an option. An expensive one, but non the less is a successful way of relieving your pain and discomfort. And oddly, this surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the country. In general, this is attributed to work related hand stress, but more and more these days I am beginning to think it has more to do with the technology that keeps us glued to our computers and blackberry’s. Or it’s just a coincidental combination?

Moral of the story is, if you are having carpal tunnel symptoms it is important to speak up at work and see if there are any alternative methods to getting your job done just as effectively without literally putting you out of work. More often than not, your company will want to work with you because in the end you both benefit.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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