Whenever we are doing manual labor, we usually work with our hands. Whether we are riveting in fittings, doing stair installation, cleaning windows, or installing shingles on our roofs, almost all types of labor will use both of our hands as a means of operating tools. However, our body can only take a particular amount of stress when working and can sometimes lead to health complications.
Stress can also affect any body part that we overwork. Since most of the manual labor will need us to use our hands, wrist, arms, and feet, it’s no surprise that we tend to get sore in those areas. Most people might not notice it at first, but fatigue and stress can affect the nervous system. In this case, carpal tunnel syndrome is considered to be one of the most common neuropathy cases that can affect working adults.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome isn’t just widespread in workers that do white-collar jobs, such as writers and office workers, it can also affect mechanical workers, repair crews, and any professional out there. Not only is this a painful condition, but this can significantly affect the productivity and efficiency of work.
As thousands of industrial machine operators, roofers, painters, and carpentry workers work every day, it’s only essential that we remind ourselves that carpal tunnel syndrome is a clear and present condition among different industries. If we’re not too careful, this can cause accidents. Therefore, it’s only necessary that we discuss how to be aware of preventing such a condition from happening while we work.
Signs and Symptoms
Compared to other ergonomic conditions that are subtle and hard to spot, carpal tunnel syndrome has a lot of symptoms. Most workers will have to pay a proper amount of attention to early warning signs before any major symptoms take hold. If major symptoms take hold, the aftereffects might be permanent if not treated accordingly.
As such, it’s appropriate so stay alert for these symptoms:
One of the most common symptoms that most people with Carpal Tunnel feel is having swollen fingers. Although, you won’t visibly see that your fingers are swollen. In most cases, the dominant hand will be the first one to feel these types of symptoms. If both hands are used for the same activity, this can usually spread to the non-dominant one as well.
Usually, people with Carpal Tunnel will have difficulty gripping with their thumb and with other muscle groups. For most individuals who are working with machinery and tools, having a good grip can mitigate the chances of accidents from happening.
The weakness of your thumbs and other parts of your fingers is attributed to the median nerve, which usually controls most of the muscle groups in the area.
During the later stages of the syndrome, most will feel a tingling sensation on the skin. Sometimes, the tingling feeling can numb the skin, which can impede the senses. Some individuals report that they can’t discern between what’s cold and hot with their hands.
Mitigating Carpal Tunnel at the Workplace
Since most of the carpal tunnel conditions start at the workplace, the upper management can implement on-the-job training to ensure that the chances of getting carpal tunnel are kept at a minimum.
The following practices can be done:
- Performing stretching exercises by giving your wrist and hand a good range of movement
- Correcting posture. Sometimes, too much pressure on your upper body can cause ergonomic issues.
- Ensuring the wrist is in a good position
- Wearing fingerless gloves so that your palms are insulated while still giving your hands a proper amount of movement
There’s a lot of ways of ensuring the carpal tunnel is kept at a minimum. Most of the time, it’s all about giving your hands the right amount of movement that’s not repetitive. Some companies would even rotate workloads to keep tasks interesting for the workers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be considered an underlying symptom of other conditions. Individuals who have diabetes or any other disorders can directly affect the nervous system, which can cause neuropathy on your hands. If this is the case, then it’s only logical that individuals seek medical attention from medically certified professionals by getting a comprehensive checkup on several systems of the body.
There’s plenty of ways of ensuring that we don’t get carpal tunnel in the workplace. If possible, we should not wait until we get to the point that we will need surgery and professional help with our wrists and hands. Once you start seeing early signs and symptoms, notify your physician and let your co-workers know as soon as possible. In the workplace, safety should come first, and no one wants to work with sore hands.