Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of repetitive stress injury that can cause significant pain and disability without proper intervention. While there is no one identifiable cause, this condition is often linked to specific professions and workplaces. Repeated similar hand movements, use of hand tools, and even computer use are all possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, although further research is needed to determine an exact link.

Symptoms tend to be minor at first and continue to grow worse over time. Carpal tunnel syndrome often involves a painful feeling in the hand, wrist, and fingers, with the exception of the pinkie finger. Feelings of tingling and numbness are also common. Weakness in the affected hand can also accompany these other symptoms, which can lead to problems gripping objects.

The problem begins with the median nerve, which extends from the forearm through the wrist and into the hand. The carpal tunnel is the pathway through which this nerve travels, and this pathway can become inflamed with repeated use. When inflamed pressure is put on the nerve, which leads to the above symptoms. Along with repetitive hand movements, other factors can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel. These include a pre-existing inflammatory illness, wrist fractures, and nerve damage.

There are steps you can take to prevent the damaging effects of carpal tunnel. If you work an office job, make sure your desk is set up so you can easily reach the mouse and keyboard without straining. Changing positioning and posture throughout the day is also beneficial since it will prevent the carpal tunnel pathway from becoming inflamed. If you’re subject to cold temperatures at work, keeping your hand and wrist warm can also help you avoid painful symptoms.