You may not realize it, but your body includes a nerve called the median nerve that runs from your wrist into your hand. It gives feeling ability to several fingers, including your index finger, your middle finger, parts of your ring finger, and your thumb. If this median nerve becomes compressed due to lack of space in the carpal tunnel, you may begin experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
This compression is caused by swelling inside your wrist, and it can lead to a range of problems, including:
- Pain that runs up your arm toward your elbow
- Tingling, numbness, and pain in your thumb and first three fingers
- Weakness that develops in your hand
- Pain in your wrist at night
You may also notice that your hand begins to fall asleep often, and you may drop objects frequently.
At Republic Spine and Pain in Austin, TX, our expert team treats this condition often. We have identified several factors that can put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome:
You job includes manual labor
Certain manual labor occupations increase your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel diagnosis has been linked to the use of power tools, such as jackhammers and chainsaws, that require repetitive wrist motion.
Jobs that involve use of tools and repetitive wrist movement include:
- Assembly line work
- Construction work
- Mechanic work
- Painting and landscaping
Your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome can also increase if you use hand tools like screwdrivers and Allen wrenches.
You have a desk job
We have also seen that computer jobs can increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome as much as manual labor jobs. Long sessions of computer use can overextend your wrist and cause swelling or pain, which are two symptoms of carpal tunnel.
If your job involves desk work or you spend a lot of time typing, you should plan to take short breaks regularly to stretch and roll out your hands and wrists.
You have broken your wrist
A history of bone fractures in the wrist is a leading risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome. This happens because a wrist fracture can reduce the space within your carpal tunnel. Because there is less space, pressure on the median nerve increases, which causes carpal tunnel syndrome to develop.
You’re a woman
Females have a higher chance than men of developing carpal tunnel syndrome - statistics show they are three times more likely to get it. Researchers don’t know exactly why this is the case, but it may have to do with the fact that the carpal tunnel in women is smaller than the carpal tunnel in men, which means the median nerve can be compressed much more easily.
You have certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions can also increase your risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Hypothyroidism and obesity also appear to increase your chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treating carpal tunnel syndrome
If you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, contact Republic Spine and Pain right away to set up an initial consultation. We will evaluate the condition of your wrist to determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. If you do, our expert team will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan to get you back to your daily activities without pain.