Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you do a lot with your hands, then you could be putting a lot of strain on your fingers, wrists and arms. Over time, you might begin to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a type of chronic stress injury that affects the hands and wrists.

Carpal tunnel is characterized by numbness and tingling in the hands and arms, and the condition is caused by a pinched median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve is the main nerve in the forearm that supplies feeling to all of an individual’s fingers, except for the pinky.

Carpal tunnel is particularly common among people who engage in repetitive motion activities during their workdays. For example, workers who type on keyboards constantly are at a very high risk of developing this condition. Still, pre-existing conditions such as hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can trigger the condition as well.

Since carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful and incapacitating, it is important to be aware of the symptoms, so that you can seek care for the condition before it has a chance to get worse. Common carpal tunnel symptoms include:

  • Tingling or numbness in your fingers
  • Weakness in your hand
  • Shock-like feelings that move into your fingers
  • Tingling that moves up into your arm

While carpal tunnel is commonly associated with computer-based occupations, but any task that involves repetitive wrist motions could cause an injury. Certain tasks performed by agricultural workers, assembly line workers, mechanics, painters, electronic industry workers, locksmiths, construction workers and many more can all cause carpal tunnel.

Preventing Carpal Tunnel

The good news for those who are at risk of carpal tunnel is that it’s also relatively easy to prevent. In the end, you can take practical steps to reduce the strain on your hands.

  • Use less force—Using a softer touch when gripping tools or using your computer keyboard could reduce pressure on your median nerve and bring relief to your hands and wrists while you work.
  • Stay neutral—Avoid bending your wrists all the way up or down. Movements like these could increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel.
  • Avoid repetitive hand or wrist motions—If there’s a task that you always do with your right hand, try doing it with your left hand instead to give your wrist a break.
  • Stretch often—Stretching can help keep your wrists loose, preventing carpal tunnel symptoms.

If you feel that you are developing problems with your hands, then your health insurance plan will provide the benefits necessary to help you seek specialist care from your regular physician or an orthopedic specialist. The earlier you receive care, the better you will be able to manage and treat the issue before it has a chance to worsen.