Carpal Tunnel Syndrome also known as CTS affects about 3-6% of Americans.
There are many things that cause this syndrome such as keyboarding, machine work, fine needle work, using a mouse, using a phone, etc. The main theme that all of these have in common is that they are related to an overuse injury.
A common occurrence that causes CTS are work related injuries as someone is doing the same thing over and over again with little break in between.
We all need to work to survive so how does one combat this sometimes painful and occasionally surgical problem?
The most obvious is to find a new job, but often times one may not have that luxury. Therefore stretching the areas may help. Improving one’s ergonomics is also helpful, such as being leaned over a computer all day long can cause terrible strain on the neck, arms, wrists and back.
This is all well and good, but what exactly causes CTS in the first place?
It is actually nerve compression that occurs from inflammation. There are multiple nerves coming from your neck down the shoulder and to the hand but the main nerve affecting the numbness and tingling into the fingers and hand related to CTS is the median nerve. The muscles get inflamed with overuse injury.
Another possible cause of CTS is injury or a sprain to the area including a fracture.
Who is more at risk to get CTS? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) women are three times more likely to get CTS than men. Those in the workplace on assembly lines are also three times more likely to get CTS than those that do more data entry work.
What can one do to help get relief from CTS?
There are many options from more conservative treatments such as chiropractic to more invasive such as surgery. Wearing wrist guards at night or even at the workplace has been seen as a helpful approach as well.