Contrary to conventional wisdom, carpel tunnel syndrome is not a disorder that you simply acquire from using your mouse and keyboard a few hours at work everyday.
It is, none-the-less, a painful disorder that can keep you home from work with the unmistakable certainty of a bad case of the flu. In general, carpal tunnel syndrome can arise out of a variety of desk-level ergonomic factors which left to be ignored can be exacerbated by improper postures. Repetitive use of the standard keyboard and mouse that accompany most workplace computers, there is little doubt that one may experience one of the many symptoms from that stem from carpal tunnel syndrome in their career.
The use of a mouse in and of itself will not usually cause someone to get carpal tunnel syndrome. The Ergonomic Expert in Agoura Hills, CA, Karen Loesing, CEAS and her team are called upon regularly to both Fortune 400 companies and small business owners to identify ergonomic risks which collectively result in not only carpal tunnel syndrome, but also employee absenteeism and worker’s compensation claims against their business.
For example, when an employee’s chair is positioned too low or too high at the desk, the way is already paved for potential injuries long before a mouse is ever clicked or a keyboard ever typed. Keep in mind that when an area of the body is forced to maintain a biomechanically incorrect position, it will over-compensate for the discomfort by requiring other muscle groups to make adjustments in order to re-establish comfort while engaged in a given activity, e.g., working in front of a computer.
In short, these natural adjustments to discomfort are likely to cause stress, which in turn will cause strain, which in turn will cause injury, which in turn will increase the employee to miss work nursing their sore body parts. The company then may need to prepare themselves for a worker’s compensation claim against their company. It’s a lose-lose scenario, and it is one that all too many companies learn about the hard way (after the physical and financial damage is done).
Ergonomic Risk Management is, by definition, a preventative measure which focuses on, among many other things, the actual work station where an employee spends the lion’s share of his/her day. For those people who are naturally predisposed to carpal tunnel syndrome (for God-given reasons) it is even more important to access and to custom tailor their work space environment to match the biomechanical comfort needs of each individual worker. When it comes to office workstations, One Size Does Not Fit All.
An Agoura Hills ergonomic consultant like Karen Loesing will assess all of the prevailing risk factors on a desk by desk and worker by worker basis.
A number of factors have been associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Although by themselves they don’t cause carpal tunnel syndrome, they may increase your chances of developing or aggravating median nerve damage. These include:
- Pre-existing Anatomic factors: A wrist fracture or dislocation recently healed that alters the space within the carpal tunnel can create extraneous pressure on the median nerve.
- Men and Women: Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally more common in women. This may be because the carpal tunnel area is relatively smaller than in men, and there may be less room for error.
- Nerve-damaging conditions: Some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, increase your risk of nerve damage, including damage to your median nerve.
- Inflammatory conditions: Illnesses that are characterized by inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the tendons in your wrist, exerting pressure on your median nerve.
- Alterations in the balance of body fluids: Fluid retention, common during pregnancy or menopause, may increase the pressure within your carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome associated with pregnancy generally resolves on its own after pregnancy.
- Other medical conditions: Certain conditions, such as menopause, obesity, thyroid disorders and kidney failure, may increase your chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Workplace factors: It’s possible that working with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve or worsen existing nerve damage.
Unfortunately, these kinds of considerations are not likely to be found in the employee handbook. This is why companies all over America are realizing that ergonomic consulting is a mission critical component to the wellness of their most precious company resources – their employees.
This saves money, increases employee morale and functional energy, decreases employee absenteeism and employee turn-over and it is more than likely to be a tangible factor associated with a lift in sales and increased company productivity.
A free preliminary consultation can be scheduled by filling out the form below or calling The Ergonomic Expert directly @ 818-451-8008.