Are you at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very painful condition that affects your hands and wrists and can – and usually does – spread into your arms, shoulders, neck and back. OrthoInfo explains that virtually all incidences of CTS begin and exacerbate at work. Why? Because this is where you must perform the repetitive hand and wrist motions that cause it. 

You face the greatest risk of developing CTS if you work as one of the following 

  • Keyboard typist or data entry clerk 
  • Construction worker or other person who wields tools 
  • Hairdresser or cosmetologist 
  • Dairy farmer 
  • Baker 
  • Assembly line worker 

Sewers, knitters, cashiers and musicians likewise often develop CTS. 

Wrist anatomy 

Carpal tunnel syndrome gets its name from the carpal tunnel located in each of your wrists. These very narrow tunnels with virtually no give to them are the channels through which your finger and hand nerves pass to get to your arms. Performing repetitive motions with your fingers and hands cause your carpal tunnels’ synovial tissues to swell, resulting in your flexor tendons failing to receive the lubrication they need. The resulting pressure on your medial nerves causes the pain that CTS produces. 

CTS treatment 

Once it begins, no cure other than surgery exists for carpal tunnel syndrome. You may, however, be able to slow its progress by using such things as wrist splints, an ergonomic keyboard, etc. Ibuprofen or another NSAID likely will help relieve the CTS pain you feel in your hands, wrists, arms, neck or back. 

CTS takes several years to reach the full-blown state where your hands may actually become numb. At that point, unfortunately, surgery represents your only remaining option.