Can Carpal Tunnel Be Prevented?

Article Authored by: Doctor Joseph E. Scherger, MD, MPH – Clinical Professor and Expert in Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine

 I work in the pharmacy field where everyone seems to get Carpal Tunnel. Can Carpal Tunnel be prevented.

Question:

I work in the pharmacy field where
everyone seems to get Carpal Tunnel.
Can Carpal Tunnel be prevented?

Andrew – Pharmacist
Trenton, New Jersey

Answer by Doctors:

There are many professions, like Pharmacists, that have a high incidence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.   You can see a full listing Professions With Carpal Tunnel

So, what can be done to prevent Carpal Tunnel if you have invested your time and energy into a profession that you enjoy, pays well, but has a high likelihood of being limited in your professional work by CTS?

This is a great question. Thanks for asking it.   The simple answer is yes, but let’s get into this subject with a little more detail on causes and the preventative cure.

Pharmacists, spend a lot of time opening and closing bottles with twist tops, entering information on a computer, printing and peeling labels, attaching them to bottles with prescription medication. Fine motor skills in the hands are an essential element for performing in this job. The work has a high level of stress because pharmacists are often dealing with people that are desperate and need medication urgently.

There is also a high requirement for accuracy. Mistakes can be life threatening.

Most will remember the scene from the Classic Christmas Movie, It’s a Wonderful Life – where the angry pharmacist strikes young George for not delivering a medication on time. It turned out it was the wrong medication and would have ruined many people’s lives, including the pharmacist, if George had not delayed the delivery and delivered it as it was.

This scene has left an indelible impression on the general population on the importance of competent pharmacists doing work without errors.

There is a high requirement for accuracy in the pharmacy. Mistakes can be life threatening.
pain medication for carpal tunnel can cause a lack of energy and high blood pressure

All these factors combine to make Pharmacy a perfect storm for the onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

So, here are some tips on how to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when you are in a profession like pharmacy:

1- Employ the best ergonomic tools wherever possible. Examples would include an ergonomic work station, keyboard and mouse for the computer. Some people switch mousing hands or use one type of mouse one day and a different type of mouse the next day. Alternating hands and mouse devices is an effective method to minimize repetitive stress on your hands and wrists.

use an ergonomic mouse to help with carpal tunnel
use an ergonomic mouse to help with carpal tunnel
use an ergonomic mouse to help with carpal tunnel
a natural ergonomic keyboard can help with carpal tunnel

2- Some pharmacists use grip aids products to minimize stress on their hands and wrist when opening lids and closing them securely over and over again.

some pharmacists use grip aids products
Pharmacists have a high incidence of carpal tunnel
some pharmacists use grip aids products to relieve carpal tunnel stress

3- Take breaks to Stretch Hands, Rest and Relax. Here are some helpful hand stretches you can do anywhere you might be during the day.

rosebud and claw pose for carpal tunnel

Get a Number 32 Elastic Band from an office supply store. Place the elastic band around the tips of your fingers in a rosebud pose and then go from the rosebud pose to a claw pose. Do 10 to 15 repetitions in three different segments.

how to stretch your fingers to relieve hand pain

Stretch all fingers back simultaneously and hold for 5 seconds the release and repeat for 10 repetitions. Then Stretch each finger individually hold for 5 -10 seconds and then release and repeat for 10 repetitions. While stretching one finger it is good to wiggle the other fingers.

4- Do not do these type of exercises if you are worried about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

hand grippers do not work for carpal tunnel
squeezing a stress ball is not effective for carpal tunnel

5- Purchase the Car