Many modern workers think of the olden days when they envision work place injuries. The term “back breaking labor” comes to mind, bringing with it images of pickaxes and plows. However, today’s workplace and new work habits can be just as damaging to the body, even when physical labor’s not involved. Keyboards, computer mice, and smart phones often lead to intense wrist pain or numbness for the people that use them daily for hours on end. This doesn’t mean that you have to quit your job to enjoy freedom from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
There are a lot of myths about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This disorder involves the carpal tunnel in the wrist, which is an opening in the wrist that allows the median nerve to pass through and up the arm. When this tunnel shrinks due to tendon swelling in the area, it is easy to start feeling the signs of nerve compression. However, CTS is not a permanent condition if treated early and conservatively, and you can get it from a far wider range of activities than just computer use.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
A little wrist pain is to be expected from any strenuous activity, even a long bout of video games. Our New Haven team will start to suspect nerve compression instead when you report symptoms like:
- Burning and tingling in the hand and fingers
- Numbness that starts in the thumb or index finger
- Sensations of swelling with no visual confirmation
- Pins and needles
- Sharp pains that radiate up the arm
- Stiff fingers upon waking
Cause of Carpal Tunnel
Any activity that involves bending or twisting the wrist could trigger swelling in the carpal tunnel. However, there are just a few causes that lead to most of the cases we deal with in our New Haven office. Our patients usually find their CTS is caused by:
- Injury to the wrist due to a slip and fall
- Sports like tennis and golf that rely on wrist movement
- Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Fluid build up in the joints due to diabetes or pregnancy
- Wear and tear from aging
Carpal Tunnel Risks
Allowing your carpal tunnel syndrome to worsen with weeks or months of continued use could lead to a more serious set of symptoms. Progressing CTS can even cause you to lose your job if you depend on fine motor movements of the hands and fingers. Look out for serious risks that include:
- Complete numbness of the fingers or hand, leading to minor paralysis
- Loss of grip in the affected hand
- Pain that interrupts your sleep
- Weakness that makes it hard to even use the hand for basic tasks
- Atrophy of the hand and forearm muscles
Carpal Tunnel Treatment Options
If you can see our team as soon as your symptoms develop, you have the best chance of reverse the damage and finding relief without medication or surgery. We can relieve the pain and numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome with treatments such as:
- Strengthening and stretching exercises designed to build wrist strength and lower swelling
Restore Flexibility And Strength To Your Wrist
Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t have to be the end of your favorite activities like blogging or sewing. While the arm and hand pain may be bothersome, we can help you find ways to deal with it and prevent it. Seek help at our office if you are starting a new behavior and need tips on avoiding wrist pain in the future as well. A little upfront education can work wonders for your joint health.