Typing, holding a cup of coffee, or gripping the book you’re reading to your child—when your hand goes numb or tingly, these tasks just became much harder. Lately I have been feeling these symptoms at my retail job when I am folding clothes. Mind you, I am only in my mid-thirties, but carpal tunnel does not care about your age. I am on my computer excessive amounts of time, especially when I am home. When I am at work, I use pricing guns and my hand is constantly moving. Therefore, it should not be any surprise that I am getting numbness in my hands.
The median nerve, which runs from the forearm down to your hand, provides sensation to your palm and fingers. Likewise, it instructs your body to move the muscles around your thumb. It is really amazing what you can learn after breaking five bones in your wrist. My therapist had me doing all kinds of hand exercises, due to stiffness. In fact, fractures to the hands, fingers, wrists or elbows could bring on carpal tunnel. So, maybe I just sped up it coming my way?
There has not been any research to determine one definite cause, except we all have our own personal causes. We type too much, we work on machines, we write or draw too much and the list goes on. According to Mayo Clinic, conditions that cause inflammation to your wrist may increase your chances of encountering carpal tunnel, such as arthritis. Diabetes, pregnancy and menopause may also increase your chances due to balance of body fluids and nerve-damaging conditions. Also, not many would think obesity would trigger it, but it has been known to shown up.
On the contrary, there are preventive steps you can take to avoid this annoying condition. First, take frequent breaks. I am guilty of breaking this rule. On my days off, I rarely leave my computer due to multiple projects I am working on at the moment. For those that have equipment that vibrates, this might be a great idea. Let your wrist rest and your hand as well. You do not want to put too much strain on your median nerve, or you are going to go home extremely sore. I have been there, and it is not any fun.
For you office workers, and whomever may need to improve posture, it’s best to roll your shoulders forward. This way, your neck and shoulder muscles are more aligned and compress with the nerves in your neck. These nerves affect our hands, shoulders and wrists, so let’s practice this today. Also, try not to bend your wrists all the way up or all the way down. I don’t really bend my wrist when I type, but people tell me I should be doing it. It’s best to keep your wrist at elbow height or lower, if you can.
Some days my hand feels like a severe writing cramp, when I haven’t done any typing or drawing. Other days my fingers are as stiff as they were a couple months after my 2012 car accident. Moreover, other days my hands get numb as I am folding a shirt at work. Carpal tunnel is the worst, but it is preventive if you take the right steps.
Finally, one of the exercises my former occupational therapist in the hospital had me do was the finger touch. Take your thumb and touch all four of your fingers, or digits as doctors call them. If you cannot touch them or it hurts too much to do so, then you might have carpal tunnel. If your symptoms get too bad, then head into the doctor and get it x-rayed. Sometimes a surgery is the best option, especially if you want a vital life. You should not have to live with carpal tunnel’s pain.