The way we use our arms and hands in work and doing every day chores have always involved the muscles that do a lot of gripping and holding while the muscles that are used for releasing action are weak. The overuse of one set of muscles on one side of the forearm and the continuous weakening of the muscle group is the reason for the nerves to get trapped under the Carpal Tunnel.
One of the most debilitating injuries which can keep you from doing your job is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Many workers have lost the proper use of their hands because of late diagnosis and extensive nerve injury to the hands.
Holding your hand palm up, the Carpal Tunnel is found on the hand near the wrist. This is a ligament that protects the median nerve that controls the fingers of the hand. This ligament is attached to the muscles of the thumb, repetitive movement of the hand causes the tendons on the muscle. The swelling then pushes the median nerve against the carpal tunnel and the surrounding tissues.
The swelling is internal with no obvious indications upon physical examination. To be able to test if there is nerve damage is through tests like the Electromyogram (EMG) and the Nerve Conduction Test- both these tests help the doctor determine the extent of damage on the nerves and what nerves of the muscles are affected.
Occupational injuries like the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affect everyone doing repetitious hand movements. These are evident in people whose work involves the hand’s movement: typists, computer work, assembly line work, construction, welders and cutters, clerks, bank tellers etc. As long as the hand is in confined to one or few movements that are done over and over, this will lead to tingling and numbness of the fingers of the hand and pain at the wrist.
If you haven’t the symptoms yet but in a high risk occupation that requires repetitive action and strain to the hand, do some carpal tunnel exercises that will help decrease the pressure on the median nerve. You can also take brief rests from the routine movement you need to do, this would give the nerves of your hand and the muscles time to rest.
Carpal tunnel Syndrome is preventable, with proper care of your muscles and nerves. For those who have the symptoms, there are several therapies you can go through before considering surgery.