When you think about jobs with risk of injury, what comes to mind? Fire fighters, police officers, and construction workers probably rank high on most people’s lists. But did you know that even the most sedentary jobs involving simple physical activities, like computer data entry, carry the risk of on-the-job injury?
Working for extended periods of time at a computer can actually cause excessive stress on the wrist. Many people who spend significant time typing develop aches and discomfort in their wrists. Often, the problem is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common and widely known” condition that involves compression of the nerves. The forearm and palm are connected by a number of ligament and bones, and this passageway, or “tunnel” also holds the median nerve. This nerve can become agitated when the tendons around it become swollen. As the tendons swell, they press up against this nerve, causing pain, numbness, or weakness.
Because of where it is situated, this median nerve tends to be more commonly compressed in women. Women are three times as likely as men to suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because their wrists usually have a narrower carpal tunnel. Some people are born naturally predisposed to the syndrome, as their genetics have determined a more narrow bone and ligament structure. In addition, people may develop these symptoms due to external trauma. A fracture of the bone can certainly be to blame, but even something as seemingly harmless as repetitive wrist motion can also cause swelling of the surrounding tendons.
Skilled manual laborers or people who work on assembly lines often develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a result of consistent strain on their wrists. Cleaners, manufacturers, tailors, and meat packers are commonly associated with this problem, as are secretaries and data entry professionals.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
Very often, simple over-the-counter remedies can be helpful, like aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen. In certain circumstances more intensive medical intervention may eventually be recommended, like shots or even surgery. However, usually the discomfort can be alleviated by wrist exercises and by carpal tunnel gloves and carpal tunnel braces. These gloves and braces properly position your wrists so that no unnecessary stress is placed upon them. By neutralizing these bones and tendons, the wrist can begin to heal and further injury is prevented.
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