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Preventing hand numbness

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Preventing hand numbness

RoadsideThe U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that truck drivers have a higher number of carpal tunnel syndrome-related events resulting in lost-days of work compared with many other occupations. Truck drivers' hands are subjected to prolonged exposure to steering wheel pressure and vibration, potentially resulting in nerve injury and hand pain and numbness.
Here are tips for truck drivers to minimize hand nerve irritation while driving:
1. Avoid tightly gripping the steering wheel.
2. Avoid resting your wrist over the top of the steering wheel. This can apply pressure to the carpal tunnel (median nerve) and Guyon's canal (ulnar nerve).
3. Frequently change your hand position on the steering wheel.
4. Avoid positions of wrist flexion (pressure on the nerves) or extension (stretches nerves).
5. Try to keep your hand and wrist aligned with the forearm.
Exercises for the hands and wrists
1. Hold the steering wheel between thumbs and index fingers at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions for a count of 5.
2. Straighten both wrists and relax fingers for a count of 5.
3. Grip the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions. Then bend both wrists down and tightly grip the steering wheel. Hold for a count of 5.
4. Straighten wrists, relax fingers for a count of 5.
Repeat steps 1-4 ten times, then hang one arm loosely at the side and shake the hand for a couple of seconds while still gripping the steering wheel with the other hand. Change hands and repeat. Total exercise time: 5 minutes.
Exercises for the shoulders
Perform the following exercises while holding the steering wheel with both hands.
1. Shrug both shoulders upwards. Hold for a count of 5.
2. Shrug both shoulders downwards. Hold for a count of 5.
3. Shrug both shoulders forwards. Hold for a count of 5.
4. Shrug both shoulders backwards. Hold for a count of 5.
Exercises for the neck
1. Tilt your head to the right as if you are trying to touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for a count of 5.
2. Tilt your head to the left as if you are trying to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. At the same time, lower your opposite right shoulder downwards. Hold for a count of 5.
You can see color photos showing these exercises on the following Web page: