I Type All Day — Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Inevitable?

If you sit at a computer and type all day, you might think the pains of carpal tunnel syndrome is unavoidable. But rest easy — it’s not inevitable.

Here are the facts about carpal tunnel syndrome, thanks to Dr. Bryan King and our team at the Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Raise your hand if you knew your body actually has a physical place called the carpal tunnel. It’s a narrow passageway between your wrist and your hand that provides a space through which your median nerve can travel.

Your median nerve controls muscle movement in your thumb and provides sensation to your thumb, index, middle, and ring finger. If the passageway gets pinched or narrowed — which can happen because of genetics, swelling of the tissue around the passage, or the position of your hand or wrist — this can compress the median nerve.

When this nerve is compressed, it can lead to common carpal tunnel symptoms:

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome

The first treatment is usually a wrist splint to wear at night. You should also avoid activities that tend to aggravate your symptoms. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may help alleviate the swelling as well.

If these efforts don’t make much of a difference, carpal tunnel release surgery may be necessary. One of the most common surgical procedures in the United States, this surgery involves cutting a ligament around the wrist to release pressure on the median nerve.

When the ligament grows back together, it allows more space than before, but complete recovery from the outpatient surgery takes some time.

You can also try to prevent carpal tunnel from occuring in the first place by easing your grip on items, taking regular breaks if you use your hands a lot, stretching your hands and wrists, and mixing up your tasks as much as possible. Also be sure to watch your posture; if your posture is poor, your wrists and hands are more likely to have problems.

What about typing?

The good news is that while typing or using a keyboard all day may cause carpal tunnel syndrome to be noticeable, it does not by itself cause the problem. In fact, the condition is three times more common among assembly-line workers than among data-entry processors. These assembly-line jobs with repetitive motions, such as manufacturing, sewing, meat packing, and more, are where workers need to pay careful attention.

The earlier you can catch the problem and begin treatment, the better chance you have of a full recovery. Our team at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute is ready and waiting to ease your carpal tunnel pain. Just contact us today to set up your initial consultation and take the first step back toward full feeling and motion in your hands and wrists!

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