Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve becomes compressed in the carpal tunnel of the wrist. It can be debilitating and painful for many people who suffer from the condition.
Risks and Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Some factors that you cannot control can place you at risk carpal tunnel syndrome. Females are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Heredity can play a factor in whether you are at risk for the condition. Inherited traits such as the shape of your wrist may put you at risk. Some health conditions have been associated with increasing the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include diabetes, thyroid conditions, obesity, arthritis and pregnancy.
If your job or your hobbies cause you to spend a lot of time doing activities that involves repetitive or forceful wrist and hand movements you are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these activities can include the use of vibrating equipment, working with small tools, driving and even hobbies such as crafts, knitting and crochet.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome usually begins gradually. You will notice a vague ache in your wrist, hand or forearm. Numbness and tingling in your fingers, this can be any of your fingers except your little finger. It may include one or more fingers. As the condition progresses this may change from an intermittent numbness and tingling to a constant condition.
Pain can radiate from your wrist upwards toward your arm and shoulder or down from your wrist or forearm into your palm or fingers. You may begin to drop things and notice a general weakness in your hands.
What You Can Do to Prevent Carpal Syndrome
There are some things you can do to improve the health of your hands and attempt to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Take frequent breaks when you are using equipment that vibrates or doing activities that require repetitive motion of your hands and fingers.
Be more aware of the positioning of your wrists when doing activities or when sleeping. Position them where they are not bent in awkward positions that can compress the nerves or interfere with circulation. By rolling your shoulders forward you shorten the muscles in the neck and shoulders which compresses the nerves. This poor and incorrect posture affects your extremities.
Reduce the force you place on your wrists and hands to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. This can include using larger tools, such as large fat pens, or kitchen tools with the soft large grips. It can also include reducing the force with which you type, press keys or write on paper.
Temperature can affect your risk of developing pain and stiffness in your joints. You can help improve the circulation to your hands by keeping them warm. If you are at work and have no control over the temperature of your environment consider wearing fingerless gloves to keep your hands and wrists warm.