Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the wrists. The carpal tunnel it refers to is inside your wrist and it can swell to the point that it squeezes on a nerve. This pressure causes pain in your hands and fingers, with the nerve being triggered when you use your wrist.
There has been a rise in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome as more people work at laptops and computers, with repetitive typing and clicking causing the carpal tunnel to swell. Most companies will now provide ergonomically designed mouse pads and keyboards to help prevent this, but if you work from home, it is best to invest in some adjustments to make your workspace as ergonomic as possible.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
The key symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are aches and pains in the fingers, hands and arms. Sometimes, your hands can go numb or experience a tingling sensation similar to pins and needles. You may also find your thumb is weaker than usual and you experience difficulty when trying to grip objects. This can make simple daily tasks feel impossible and diminish your quality of life.
Symptoms often start slowly. Any pain experienced will come and go and is usually felt when you are using the affected arm, hand or wrist. Many people experiencing the syndrome find that their symptoms get worse during the night, which can make it difficult to get enough sleep, leading to further health complications.
Risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome
While anyone can suffer from it, certain people are more at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome than others. If you are overweight or pregnant, this can put added pressure on your joints. If you already suffer from arthritis or diabetes, you are more likely to suffer from it.
People who have previously injured their wrists may also be more susceptible because the area has already been damaged. If you bend your wrist repetitively, this can cause swelling as well. There is also a genetic factor involved – if your parents or siblings suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you are more likely to develop the condition yourself.
To better understand your condition and how to manage it, you should book an appointment with a rheumatologist as soon as possible.