Desk Workers! Could the Pain in Your Hand be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Do you constantly sit at your desk? Do you constantly type? There are plenty of jobs out there that require the repetitive motion of typing all day long. This is not great for your wrists. The most common injury caused by these repetitive motions is carpal tunnel syndrome. Read on to learn more!
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve that runs from the arm into the hand is compressed or receives an increased amount of pressure that causes symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain.
The most common causes include repetitive movements with a forceful grip, a swollen hand due to injury, physical trauma on the outstretched palm of the hand, and inflammatory arthritis.
What are the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by repetitive motions that put pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. Such motions include writing, typing on a computer, painting, or playing sports. It can also result from obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, or other medical conditions.
Who is at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Anyone with a job requiring repetitive use of the hands is at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This includes, but is not limited to: office workers, computer programmers, writers, and those who play stringed instruments.
Extra pressure on the thumbs from obesity or pregnancy can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies also found that women are three times more likely to get it than men.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are generally present at night because most people sleep with their wrists bent. Your symptoms will likely worsen with activities that require repetitive use of your hands, such as typing, sewing, or painting.
Other symptoms include wrist pain and numbness that may become severe, especially upon waking up in the morning. You may also feel tingling or a burning sensation in the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand.
You might also notice your fingers feel swollen and pain that travels up your forearm to your shoulder.
What are the treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Your treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will depend on your symptoms and the severity of your condition.
First, you need to make lifestyle changes. You should take frequent breaks and avoid repetitive motions and stresses on your wrists. Using wrist guards or braces when working with heavy machinery can also help prevent the condition from developing.
Next, is exercise. One of the most effective cures for carpal tunnel is exercise - specifically, stretching exercises. Many stretches can help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with carpal tunnel.
One example is to hold your arm straight up in the air and then bend it at the elbow until you feel a good stretch. Hold this position for about 60 seconds. Do this three times on both arms. This stretch can be done anytime, anywhere, so it's an easy way to deal with carpal tunnel pain whenever it strikes.
Another exercise that you can do is squeezing a ball between your hands for ten seconds and then releasing it.
Your doctor may recommend wearing a wrist brace. This will not only take some pressure off your wrists but will also help with any pain that you are feeling.
If these measures don't work, other treatments can be used such as surgical intervention or extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
Tips to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome
The most important thing to remember is that in most cases, you can reduce or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by taking some simple steps.
1. Give your wrist a break from time to time.
2. Stretch your hands and fingers regularly.
3. Watch your posture.
4. Keep your hands warm.
5. Use a wrist brace to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
Disclaimer: Although the information is gathered with great care, please note that the tips given on this website by no means substitute medical advice. If you’re experiencing any pain, consult your healthcare professional immediately and follow his advice regardless of what you’ve learned on this website.