Friday, October 16, 2009

Carpal Tunnel Begins in Your Neck Not in Your Wrist

Carpal Tunnel Begins in Your Neck Not in Your Wrist
by Pamela Adams D.C.
If Carpal Tunnel Syndrome comes from typing on the computer
all day, why didn't people who typed on typewriters get Carpal
Tunnel Syndrome? Because there was no computer screen to
draw their heads forward, their chins tilted up, necks strained.
Typewriters were placed lower than desks and typists tilted their
heads down not forward.
The culprit in Carpal Tunnel pain, the Median nerve, exits the
spinal cord from the lower part of your neck, travels through neck
muscles under the collar bone to the front of your shoulder bone,
then makes its way down your arm, past your elbow to your wrist
where it passes through the Carpal Tunnel and into your hand.
That's a long way to go, and the nerve can be pinched anywhere
along the route causing pain in your wrist and numbness in your
hand and fingers. The very first and most common place it gets
pinched is in your neck. You can wear a wrist brace, buy wrist
rests, get an ergonomically correct keyboard, take painkillers, or
have surgery and it won't help until you change the position of
your head when you work at the computer.
Of course, it's not only computer workers who suffer from Carpal
Tunnel symptoms. According to research from the Occupational
Health Project at the University of Maryland, workers in the
following occupationsare most likely to develope the syndrome:
1. Assembler
2. Laborer--non-construction
3. Packaging-and-filling-machine operators
4. Janitors and cleaners
5. Butchers and meat cutters
6. Data entry keyers
What is the common-denominator among these occupations?
Workers must hold their heads forward and down and reach
forward with one or both arms repeatedly.
Learn to keep your head on straight, whatever you do. If your
head is supported by your spinal column and not the poor,
overworked muscles of your neck and upper back; if you position
yourself so that you don't have to reach with your arm, you'll go
along way towards relieving and preventing symptoms.
Here are some suggestions for computer users:
1. The computer monitor must be placed directly in front of you.
The top of the monitor should be no higher than eye level.
2. Keyboards should be placed low, so that arms can hang at
your sides with foreams at right angles to upper arms and wrists
3. Feet are flat on the floor; weight is on the sitting bones.
There should be a slight arch in your low back.
4. Your breastbone should be lifted, creating a lengthened
space between the navel and breastbone. This brings your head
back to an aligned position.
5. Placement of the mouse should be a close to the body as
possible so there's no reaching. It's better to use a ball,
because fingers are designed for small, precise movements,
shoulders are not.
6. A timer set to ring every fifteen minutes or half-hour is a
good way to check on your posture.
7. Sleep on your back, not sides, until symptoms subside. Use
a flat, thin pillow.
The following exercise is meant to be done once every hour
during the day, and, lastly, in bed just before sleep: Lying on
your back with hands clasped behind your head, elbows resting
on the floor or bed, tuck your chin into your neck as if to make a
double chin. Keeping the chin tucked in,
gently press your head back into your hands. Hold for a count of
ten. Then relax your chin and neck and take a couple of deep
breaths. Do a total of three presses in a set. Do one set only
every hour

About The Author
Dr. Pamela Adams helps undo the habits that cause you pain. She is the author of "Dr. Adams' Painless Guide to Computing" and a complimentary ezine, Self Health News. For more health tips and information, visit her website


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