Do you sit at a desk for much of the day, every day? Regardless of whether you’re working from home or at the office, using a keyboard and mouse repetitively can cause symptoms in the hand and fingers, such as numbness, tingling, or pain.

The carpal tunnel is an anatomical name where tendons of the forearm cross into the hand, and they share the same space as the median nerve and carpal (wrist) bones. The median nerve supplies sensation to your thumb, first finger and part of the second finger.

How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

The primary complaint is typically numbness and tingling in the thumb and first fingers. A specific way to assess this yourself is to bring the backs of your hands together and hold them for 30 seconds. This is referred to as “reverse prayer” position, or Phalen’s test. You can also try the reverse position with your palms pressed together. It compresses the median nerve within the tunnel and your symptoms will increase if you have true carpal tunnel syndrome.

I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome and it doesn’t seem to be improving. What do I do?

We recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our physical therapists so we can evaluate you. Sometimes, numbness and tingling in the hand may not be carpal tunnel at all. Nerves originating in the cervical spine (neck) can also cause numbness or tingling, so it’s important to have an accurate assessment so your symptoms can be addressed specifically.

What can I do at home?

Having a good ergonomic keyboard setup is important to long-term relief. Having a keyboard that keeps the wrist in a neutral alignment minimizes compression of the median nerve. Our therapists at Peak Form can also provide you with a brace that can help decompress the carpal tunnel. We would also prescribe specific exercises to assist with wrist, elbow and shoulder stability.

Remember, in these strange times, there is no need to suffer! We’re open and ready to help you.