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Dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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More and more computer workers are complaining of tingling, pain, or numbness in their fingers and hands. Often, they are the first signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is when the tendons running from the forearm to the hand become inflamed and compress the median nerve (a main nerve in the same area) in the tunnel. If you work at a computer for more than 4 hours a day, you should be on the look-out for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms, too:

  • Tingling or Numbness in your fingers and hands, usually any of the fingers other than the pinkie finger. The tingling or numbness can start upon awakening or just when you are holding something to the point that the feelings are constant.
  • Pain in your wrist, shooting up into your shoulder or down into your hand, typically on the palm side of your forearm and usually after repetitive or forceful use.
  • Weakness in your hands as the condition worsens, accompanied by a tendency to drop items.

If you have experienced any of the precious symptoms recently and consistently, it's time to call your doctor. Either way, here are some tips for working through Carpal Tunnel:

  • Try to stretch the muscles of your hand, wrist, and forearm to prevent further progression.
  • Look for ways to maintain balance and strength of those muscles.
  • Consider an ergonomic mouse for comfort. Your "mouse hand" hovers over your mouse most of the day, maybe without you even noticing. This causes undue strain on your wrist and hand. A more comfortable and easier to use mouse will relieve that stress as it fits your hand and provides additional scrolls and buttons.
  • See your doctor if you have continued symptoms of carpal tunnel that don’t go away for treatments and medications to relieve your symptoms.

Above all else, know that repetitive and/or forceful movements are contributing factors to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Do whatever it takes to avoid such movements and protect your wrists and hands from serious nerve damage.