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How To Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 27, 2021 12:00:00 PM / by Calvin Leong

Tunnel-Syndrome-

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the wrist, hand, and fingers. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, hollow space in the wrist. Tendons and one of the main nerves in the hand (median nerve) pass through the carpal tunnel. The median nerve supplies feeling to the thumb and the first three fingers. It also supplies the muscles at the base of the thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the median nerve gets squeezed in the area where it passes through the carpal tunnel.

In some cases, it may not be possible to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. However, you can take steps to relieve pressure on your wrist and reduce your risk of developing this condition.

Median Nerve

How can this condition affect me?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect your ability to do jobs or activities that involve hand, wrist, and finger action. It can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the wrist, hand, and fingers.
  • Burning, tingling, or numbness in the affected area.
  • A weak feeling in your hands. You may have trouble grabbing and holding items.

Symptoms may get worse over time. For some people, symptoms get worse at night.

What can increase my risk?

The following factors may make you more likely to develop this condition:

  • Having a job that requires you to repeatedly move your wrist or requires you to use tools that vibrate. This may include jobs that involve using computers, working on an assembly line, or working with power tools such as drills or sanders.
  • Being a woman.
  • Having a family history of the condition.
  • Having certain conditions, such as:
    • pregnancy
    • diabetes 
    • obesity
    •  thyroid disease.
    •  rheumatoid arthritis.

What actions can I take to help prevent this condition? 

  • Avoid making repetitive hand and wrist motions that cause your wrist to get stiff or painful.
  • Take frequent breaks if you use your hands and wrists for many hours at a time.
  • Stretch your hands and fingers often to get blood flowing and relieve tension.
  • Keep your wrists in the natural position when using a computer keyboard or mouseDo not bend your wrists downward or sideways.
  • If you use your hands and wrists for many hours at work, make changes to your work space to ease pressure on your wrists. You may want to use:
    •  a padded wrist rest for computer work.
    •  a slanted computer keyboard.
    •  hand tools with padded handles to reduce vibrations.
  • Consider wearing a wrist brace. This will not prevent carpal tunnel syndrome but may keep it from getting worse. A wrist brace reduces bending and stress.
  • Closely manage any medical conditions you have that can put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Have your blood sugar checked to make sure you are not developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, work with your healthcare provider to keep your blood sugar under control.

Carpal Tunnel

Contact a healthcare provider if:

  • you have numbness or tingling in your wrist, hand, or fingers.
  • you have pain or a burning sensation in your wrist, hand, or fingers.
  • pain, tingling, or burning wakes you up at night.
  • your hand becomes weak and clumsy.
  • you frequently drop objects.
  • you are unable to use your wrists and hands without pain.

Summary

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the wrist, hand, and fingers.
  • You can take steps to relieve pressure on your wrist and reduce your risk of developing this condition.
  • Avoid making repetitive hand and wrist motions that cause your wrist to get stiff or painful.
  • If you use your hands and wrists for many hours at work, you may want to make changes to your work space to ease pressure on your wrists.
  • Take frequent breaks to stretch your hands and fingers.

Doctor examining his patients hand in medical office

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your healthcare provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your healthcare provider.

References:

Graham B et al: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons evidence-based clinical practice guideline on: management of carpal tunnel syndrome [guideline summary]. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 98(20):1750-4, 2016.

Ho A.W., Ho S.T., Koo S.C., Wong K.H.: Hand numbness and carpal tunnel syndrome after volar plating of distal radius fracture. Hand 2011; 6: pp. 34-38.

Olney RK: Carpal tunnel syndrome: complex issues with a “simple” condition. Neurology 2001; 56: pp. 1431-1432.

Park K.W., Boyer M.I., Gelberman R.H., Calfee R.P., Stepan J.G., Osei D.A.: Simultaneous bilateral versus staged bilateral carpal tunnel release: a costeffectiveness analysis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2016; 24: pp. 796-804.

Shiri R: Arthritis as a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome: a meta-analysis. Scand J Rheumatol. 45(5):339-46, 2016.

 

For more information on carpal tunnel syndrome, visit:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

5 Ways You Can Ease Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain Without Surgery

 

Updated on 26 January 2021 by CaregiverAsia.

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Topics: Wellness

Calvin Leong

Written by Calvin Leong

Calvin Leong holds a Master in Medical Education from the University of Dundee, United Kingdom. He has 15 years of clinical and lecturing experience focusing on Traumatology, Medical Sciences and Mentoring in Healthcare. Calvin is also a Train the Trainer certified by HRDF, Malaysia and a Life Member of The Malaysian Association for the Study of Pain (MASP). In his free time, he enjoys coffee with a slice of cheesecake.

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