Common in those who do a lot of typing at their day jobs, carpal tunnel syndrome is a pain in your wrist due to pressure on your median nerve. This pressure is usually caused by inflammation that “pinches” the median nerve on the palm side of your hand, leading to numbness, weakness, and pain in your hand and fingers. Additionally, people with carpal tunnel may experience these symptoms:
- feel your hand “falling asleep” regularly
- pain and burning that travels up your arm
- wrist pain at night that interferes with sleep
Who is Affected?
Carpal tunnel is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 60. People who put excess pressure on their wrists or have conditions that cause obstructed blood flow are more at risk. Excess pressure can be caused by overextending your wrist repeatedly or performing repetitive motions for long periods. Jobs that have a high risk of carpal tunnel are manufacturing, assembly line work, keyboarding occupations, and construction work.
Work is not the only thing that can lead to this ailment. Obstructed blood flow can result from medical conditions such as:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause
- Past traumas or fractures to the wrist area
- Autoimmune disorders
Other factors that can increase your risk are certain lifestyle choices. Behavior such as smoking, high salt intake, practicing a sedentary lifestyle, or having a high BMI can all lead to developing carpal tunnel.
Preventative and Managing Tactics
There are things you can do to decrease your risk of developing carpal tunnel, or at least keep your symptoms from flaring up to an unmanageable degree.
For example, you can watch your sodium intake and live a more active lifestyle. You don’t have to join a gym or anything, but walking 30 minutes for exercise and taking 10,000 steps daily will help lower your chances for carpal tunnel and other things like heart disease. Proper maintenance and treatment of any conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis reduces your risk, as well as, paying attention to hand posture and limiting overextension.
If you do develop carpal tunnel, then there are simple ways to manage it:
- Conducting physical therapy exercises daily
- Taking medications that lessen the pain
- Wearing wrist support to keep your hand in a neutral position
Some people may choose a more expensive and evasive path by getting steroid injections or even surgery. However, it is highly recommended to manage carpal tunnel pain and avoid surgery unless there is severe damage to your median nerve.
Carpal tunnel, if you develop it, is a very manageable condition. However, the best medicine is prevention with good lifestyle choices and practices. Invest in yourself and make the change. Find the tools you need for more comfortable pain management at Medical Supply Depot.