Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: how to identify it? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: how to identify it?

Hand and wrist pain, tingling in the first three fingers of the hand, elbow pain and trouble coordinating or grasping objects may indicate that you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

The median nerve is responsible for the sensation and movement of our palm, thumb, index, middle finger and ring finger. The carpal tunnel, the area in the wrist where the nerve enters the hand, is usually narrow.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the surrounding areas get swollen, the nerve is pinched and pain, weakness and numbness occur. The wrist can become swollen when it performs the same hand movement over and over again, or when vibrating hand tools are used.

If you experience said symptoms, apply hot or cold compresses to your wrist, try not to sleep on it, and wear a splint at night or during the day (depending on the severity of the symptoms). This will help relieve the pain and treat the syndrome. If you see no improvement and you feel that your hand is losing muscle mass or sensation, you should consult with your physician, as carpal tunnel can sometimes require surgery.

Good practices to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

Although it has not been proven that typing, using a mouse, playing a musical instrument or playing certain sports can cause the syndrome, these activities themselves have been associated with tendinitis, which can narrow the carpal tunnel and cause the above described symptoms.

The MedlinePlus website recommends reducing the strain on the wrist at work by using ergonomic mouse pads, or keyboard drawers. When you are experiencing pain, stretching exercises and NSAIDs such as naproxen can help relieve it.

Consulting with an occupational therapist is equally important, so that they help determine whether your positions in the workplace are correct. Make sure that always keep your hands in a horizontal position and instead of propping them up when typing.