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Habits for a Zen Workplace: How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel SyndromeThe computer age has given us so much.

We enjoy instant communication, we’ve been blessed with major advances in medicine, we are on the cusp of acquiring our own personal chauffeur with the self-driven car, and, thanks to computer technology, there’s been a major upswing in carpal tunnel syndrome!

Oops, that one is not so good!

If you are one of the 85 percent of the world’s population who routinely text, type, swipe or use a mouse, you are at a greater risk to suffer from this painful injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome is basically nerve damage caused by repetitive movement. The symptoms are mild at first and include pain, numbness, itching or tingling in your wrist, hand or forearm. Left unchecked it can require surgery and lead to permanent damage.

Before you throw your electronic device out the window, create some new habits. Fitness guru and motivational speaker Max Strom gives advice on how to prevent this common overuse injury and advocates the practice of yoga, especially for those of us tied to our computers. Here’s what you can do to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome!

Create Healthy Computer Habits and Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Periodically change the height position of your mouse. A small stool or table positioned at knee height will provide much needed relief to your forearms. Even better: switch hands and work on your dexterity.
  • Don’t hover over or hold the mouse when you are not using it. Instead, place your hand in your lap, palm up.
  • Stand and take a break every hour; roll your shoulders back, stretch your fingers wide, perform wrist circles and massage your forearms.
  • If you spend an inordinate amount of time typing, invest in voice-recognition software. On your phone, take advantage of talk-to-text as much as possible.
  • Extended hours spent sitting in front of a computer can also be detrimental for spine health. Max recommends this Iyengar shoulder opener to correct alignment and improve posture. Three times a day stop and perform the stretch for a minute on both sides.
  • To prevent rounded, slumped shoulders, incorporate King Dancer pose into your daily/weekly yoga practice to encourage the chest and shoulders open.

Zen shouldn’t be limited to our meditation practice. Create mindful habits for when you eat, work and play and enjoy the benefits of being present no matter what you do.

What’s your worst computer habit? I was shocked at how often I left my hand poised over the mouse! —Karen

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