If your job requires you to make repetitive motions with your fingers, hands or wrists, you face a high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, OrthoInfo.com explains that almost all carpal tunnel syndrome begins at work.
You risk of developing CTS increases dramatically if you work at one of the following jobs:
- Construction worker
- Keyboard typist or data entry operator
- Assembly line worker
- Dairy farmer
- Hairdresser or cosmetologist
Anatomy of the wrist
You have a carpal tunnel in each of your wrists. The nerves and tendons of your hands and fingers pass through these narrow channels on their way to your arms. When your fingers and hands perform repetitive motions, the synovial tissues in your carpal tunnels swell, drastically reducing the amount of lubrication your tendons require. This, in turn, puts pressure on your medial nerves that causes the pain produced by carpal tunnel syndrome.
At the first hint of pain in your fingers, hands or wrists, your wisest strategy consists of changing the way in which you work. For instance, you can try wearing wrist splints if you wield tools. You can try switching to an ergonomic keyboard if you must work long hours at a computer. In addition, over-the-counter pain relievers can usually minimize your discomfort.
Unfortunately, the pain, numbness and tingling of carpal tunnel syndrome increases over time, both in intensity and in the parts of your body affected by it. After several years, your CTS pain likely will work its way into your arms, neck and back. At this point, undergoing wrist surgery is your only option.