Whether you work in a warehouse or an office, you use your hands a lot. You know that carpal tunnel syndrome can develop with overuse — and that would be devastating to your ability to stay employed.

Is there anything you can do to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing, given that simply “not using your hands too much” isn’t an option? Give these tips a try:

  • Take your breaks: Sure, productivity is important, but tapping away at that keyboard nonstop or working that factory line without rest is counterproductive in the long run. Take your scheduled breaks. When you have a chance, pause and stretch your hands –every hour if you can.
  • Wear those braces: Keeping your wrist from hyper-flexing is key to avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome. Wearing braces at night can help you keep your wrists in a neutral position while you sleep and take some of the pressure off of sensitive nerves.
  • Sit up and stand straight: Your posture actually affects how you hold the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Bad posture can put extra stress on those areas and pinch the nerves in your neck that run all the way to your hands.
  • Alternate tasks: If you have more than one task you can be doing at work, rotate through them so that you give yourself a break from doing the exact same motions over and over.
  • Be gentle: How hard are you hitting those keys? Are you pushing those boxes harder than necessary? Relax a little and try to keep the tension out of your hands, arms and shoulders by using a gentle touch whenever possible.

If you do develop carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that will help you with related medical care and provide some replacement income. Don’t let your boss or their insurer tell you that your problems are merely age-related. Get experienced legal assistance with your claim.