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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

If your Iowa job requires you to perform repetitive actions with your hands and wrists, such as typing or wielding a hammer, you are at high risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. OrthoInfo.com explains that when your median nerve becomes compressed or squeezed on its way through your wrist’s carpal tunnel, the result can be pain, tingling and numbness in your hands and wrists.

Your carpal tunnel really is a tunnel, about one inch wide. Your carpal bones form its sides and bottom, and your transverse carpal ligament forms its roof. Considering the rigidity of both your bones and your ligament, your carpal tunnel has very little ability to stretch.

Carpal tunnel beginnings

Your flexor tendons, i.e., those that move your thumb and fingers, likewise pass through your carpal tunnel. When you overuse these tendons via constant repetitive motions, the synovial tissues around them swell, filling up your carpal tunnel and making them unable to lubricate your tendons. Consequently, your medial nerve gets squeezed. Your resulting nerve pain is carpal tunnel syndrome.

Risk factors

Carpal tunnel risk factors include the following:

  • Any kind of repetitive hand movements
  • Underlying health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid gland imbalance, etc.
  • Age and length of employment
  • Pregnancy
  • Heredity factors

Unfortunately, once you begin to feel the numbness and pain that carpal tunnel syndrome produces, your hands and wrists invariably become more painful over time. Ergonomic keyboards and wrist splints may lessen your pain at first, but ultimately you may need surgery.

Bear in mind that carpal tunnel syndrome is not an injury, but rather a work-related condition that becomes progressively worse the longer you continue to engage in the repetitive hand movements that cause it. Without eventual surgical intervention, you could ultimately experience a complete loss of feeling in your hands, resulting in your inability to hold objects without dropping them.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand carpal tunnel syndrome and what to expect.

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