Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you have a job that requires constant use of your hands (i.e. receptionist or mechanic), you could be at risk of developing a condition called Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or TS, occurs as a result of too much pressure on the median nerve, which is located in your wrist. Along with several tendons, the median nerve runs all the way from your forearm to your wrist, and it is responsible for movement and feeling.

Pressure on the median nerve that results in carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by many different factors. As mentioned, jobs that require the use of your hands for prolonged periods of time can certainly play a contributing role. For example, individuals who do office work. As office work generally requires lots of computer use and typing, this means your hands and wrists are repeating the same movements over and over again, which can result in strain over time.

The chief complaint in individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome is wrist pain, though you may also experience tingling, numbness and weakness in the fingers and hands.

If this pain is mild, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, recommends patients take a break from computer use and ice their wrist for approximately 10 to 15 minutes every 1 to 2 hours. Wearing a wrist splint can also help to take pressure off the median nerve. For pain that is moderate to severe, Dr. Ali Ghahary suggests taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve). If the pain is severe (to the point where you are unable to work or function normally) or does not go away after trying these remedies, you could be a candidate for surgery, though that is often done as a last-resort. It can take several months to fully require from carpal tunnel surgery and you will require physical therapy treatment to help speed along the healing process and strengthen your wrist.

To avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Ali Ghahary has a few recommendations. When it comes to most jobs, computer use is required. However, you should make sure you’re taking at least 5-minute breaks from typing when possible. When typing, make sure you keep your shoulders relaxed and wrists straight. When holding objects, try to use your whole hand and not just your fingers. By following a few of these simple steps, you will hopefully prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from occurring.