Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often associated with typing jobs. However, it is a medical condition that affects people who engage in various repetitive activities. Therefore, the "fear" of Carpal Tunnel should not be the sole reason for avoiding professions, such as data entry jobs, where extensive typing is required. In fact, there is much you can do to minimize the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel, while maintaining excellent typing skills.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common repetitive strain injury, resulting from damage to, or compression of the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve controls most of the feeling and sensation in the fingers and thumb; when the median nerve is damaged or compressed it can result in pain, tingling, and general discomfort in the affected hand and wrist. The pain tends to be most acute during periods of activity, such as preparing for a typing test or playing typing games. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be debilitating and require physical therapy or surgery. In most cases, it can be treated and normal function restored, especially if it is treated early. However, if carpal tunnel is left untreated, it can become painful and debilitating.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is most commonly associated with repetitive activities involving the hands, fingers, and wrists. For example assembly line workers, computer programmers, data entry jobs, and others are susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome. However, anyone can be at risk. Increased activity involving the hands and fingers can result in carpal tunnel symptoms. As a general rule, when the repetitive or stressful activity is decreased the symptoms improve or disappear completely. In addition to repetitive activity, carpal tunnel can also be caused by a fracture, dislocation, or trauma to the carpal tunnel bone in the wrist or to a bone in the arm. . Women are more likely than men to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
A physician can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome and assist in the identification of its origin.

What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome has various indicators and while they vary for each individual, it is likely they will be experiencing one or more of the following symptoms

• Pain or burning in the fingers and wrist and forearm
• Numbness in the hand, fingers and/wrist
• Paresthesia—tingling or burning sensation in the fingers
• Weakness in the affected hand and wrist
• Difficulty clenching a tight fist or grabbing or picking up objects
• Loss of sensation in fingers
• Sharp, shooting pain in the fingers and wrist
• A feeling of swelling in the fingers and wrist, even when there may be no visible signs

What Treatments are Available for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

There are a number of treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which include:

• Refraining from any repetitive activities, which have resulted in the onset of the carpal tunnel condition.
• Taking frequent breaks from repetitive activities that can contribute to carpal tunnel injuries.
• Immobilization of the wrist and fingers through the use of special braces.
• Physical therapy
• Stretching and strengthening exercises
• Massage Therapy to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms
• Acupuncture
• Medication for pain and inflammation
• Specific exercises and better posture
• Ergonomic techniques and equipment, such as keyboards, keyboard pads, etc.
• In severe or advanced cases of carpal tunnel, surgery may be required to provide relief. The most common surgery is carpal tunnel release surgery.

The carpal tunnel information on this site is for general information purposes only. You should seek out your doctor or healthcare professional's opinion regarding symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and recovery related to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.