Ever feel tingling or numbness when you’re gripping the steering wheel? You may be suffering from one of the most common health problems affecting truck drivers.
Chaining, tarping, and being constantly exposed to the vibration of a truck puts truckers at risk for a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS. In addition, driving for long periods of time with your wrist resting on the steering wheel or shifter can increase your risk of developing CTS.
Caught early, the nerve damage that causes carpal tunnel syndrome can be slowed or stopped. Protect yourself by knowing the symptoms and learning what you can do to minimize your risk!
8 Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
1. Numbness or tingling in the fingers
2. Weakness in the hands
3. Difficulty making a fist
4. A burning sensation that moves up your fingers to your elbow
5. Hand or finger pain that worsens at night or wakes you up at night
6. The urge to shake out your hands to make your fingers regain feeling
7. Trouble gripping small objects
8. Loss of ability to feel heat and cold
6 Ways to Fight Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
1. Take breaks whenever possible. Whenever possible, give your hands and wrists a break from the vibration and stress of driving.
2. Don’t white knuckle the steering wheel. A looser grip puts less stress on your wrists.
3. Keep hands warm. Cold is thought to contribute to CTS.
4. Stretch! Our friends at the Healthy Trucker have an excellent video demonstrating good stretches for easing CTS symptoms.
5. Maintain a healthy weight. Both obesity and diabetes are linked to increased risk of CTS.
6. Seek medical treatment early. The longer you wait to be treated for CTS, the more likely it is that your symptoms could become permanent.
Your doctor may recommend exercises, physical therapy, wrist splints, rest, or medication to help treat CTS.