The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes in our daily lives, including an increase in the number of people working from home. The shift in work habits such as increase in the use of computers and other technology for extended periods of time has led to an increase in the number of people experiencing wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
The prolonged use of computers, laptops, and other technology has led to an increase in the number of people experiencing CTS. People who work in jobs that involve repetitive motions, such as typing on a computer keyboard or using a mouse, are at a higher risk, more common in women than men, and it is more likely to occur in people who are overweight or have diabetes.
Wrist pain is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. It can be caused by an injury, such as a sprain or fracture, by a chronic condition, such as arthritis or by repetitive motions, such as typing on a computer keyboard or using a mouse.
The symptoms of wrist pain can vary depending on the cause. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, weakness, and numbness in the wrist and hand. In some cases, wrist pain may also be accompanied by swelling and redness.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common condition that affects the hand and wrist due to the compression of a nerve in the wrist, known as the median nerve. This nerve controls the movement and sensation of the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring fingers. Here are the common symptoms of CTS:
- Numbness or tingling in the hand and fingers, especially the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
- Weakness in the hand and fingers
- Pain or discomfort in the hand and wrist, especially at night
- A burning or itching sensation in the hand and fingers
- Difficulty grasping or holding objects
- Swelling in the hand and wrist
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions such as tendinitis or arthritis, so it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
The shift to remote work has led to an increase in the number of people experiencing wrist pain. Many people who are working from home are not taking the necessary steps to prevent this condition, such as setting up their workstations properly, taking frequent breaks, and using ergonomic equipment.
If you are working from home and your job requires repetitive motions, there are a few steps to reduce your risk of developing wrist pain or CTS.
- Avoid repetitive motions as much as possible and set up your workstation properly. Make sure that your chair is adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your keyboard and mouse should be at a comfortable height, and your computer monitor should be at eye level reducing the strain on your wrists and hands.
- Take frequent breaks to stretch and move your hands and wrists. This will help keep the blood flowing and reduce the risk of developing CTS. Using ergonomic equipment, such as an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, can help reduce the strain on your hands and wrists and reduce the stress on your joints and muscle.
- Maintain a healthy weight and manage underlying medical conditions.
Treatment options include rest and splinting, physical therapy, and medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people experiencing wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are experiencing wrist pain, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
About The Author
Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018.
Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get.