When people think of carpal tunnel syndrome, they may think of office related tasks, such as typing. The truth is that carpal tunnel syndrome can affect anyone who performs repetitive movements with their hands including manual laborers and assembly line workers.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and arms. This condition occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve, the main nerve to the hand.
Bending the wrists or moving the fingers works the tendons that are encased in sheaths, or sleeves, that allow the tendons to slide. The inner wall of the sheaths contain cells that produce fluid to lubricate the tendons. While lubrication is essential for normal and smooth functioning of the tendons, with repetitive or excessive movement of the hand, this lubrication system may act up, creating friction between the tendon and its sheath.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is most commonly caused by the inflammation of an underlying medical condition that causes swelling in the wrist and joints. A few common conditions linked to carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- High blood pressure
- Inflammatory conditions
- Trauma or injury to the wrist
- Workplace factors
How can I prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?
Minimizing the stress on your hands and wrists can help decrease the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These preventive methods include:
Take frequent breaks from repetitive activities
Repetitive activities, such as typing, can add a lot of stress to your hands and wrists. Try taking frequent breaks where you can gently stretch and bend your hands. Stretches can add flexibility to the tendons in the hands, making carpal tunnel syndrome less likely to develop.
Watch your form
Keep your wrists straight or in a neutral position when using tools. If your work requires you to be on a computer, adjust your desk, chair or keyboard so that your forearms are level with the surface.
Stretch your wrists
Stretching is a great way to relieve pain and avoid injury in the future. While slight discomfort is okay, it is important to not push yourself to a point where you feel pain.
Keeping your hands warm can help with pain and stiffness, especially when you are in a cold environment, such as your typical office. Try engaging in wrist exercises at your desk to keep the muscles and tendons in your arm warmed up.
Loosen your grip or force
Most of the time, we use too much force without realizing how hard we are typing or holding onto something. Try loosening your grip, being mindful of how tense your hands are.
If you are experiencing numbness, stiffness or pain in your wrists and hands, the doctors at Brain2Spine Institute can help you manage your symptoms before carpal tunnel syndrome develops. Call us at (727) 500-2318.