Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that can occur in people whose jobs involve working long hours on computers or other equipment. It occurs when the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, which runs through the wrist, is compressed. The median arm nerve is responsible for the feeling and movement of the thumb and the next three to four fingers.
Working in an office can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, but it is not the only or most important cause. Prolonged time at the computer can damage the hand and wrist, leading to repetitive strain and injury that can worsen carpal tunnel syndrome.
There are several other causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Conditions associated with increased pressure in the canal: This may be caused by swelling, inflammation or other conditions that result in increased tissue volume in the carpal tunnel.
- trauma to the hand or wrist: this may be caused by a fracture, dislocation, or other injury that causes bones or other structures in the wrist to shift, increasing pressure on the median nerve.
- Hand abnormalities: this may include abnormalities of the hand, such as cysts or nodules in the tendons, which can pinch the median nerve.
- Rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause inflammation and swelling in the carpal tunnel.
- Hormonal changes: Pregnancy or menopause can lead to tissue changes that may increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Heredity: carpal tunnel syndrome can be inherited from parents.
In general, carpal tunnel syndrome can be triggered by a variety of causes, but is often associated with repetitive hand movements that can lead to pressure on the median nerve.
Limitations associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause discomfort and limited movement in the hand, which can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Common problems associated with this syndrome include:
- pain: pain can occur in the wrist, hand, palms and fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. The dominant hand is most commonly affected – the right hand in right-handed people and the left hand in left-handed people.
- Numbness: numbness and tingling often occur in the same areas where the pain occurs.
- Weakness: decreased strength and coordination of hand movements, especially in small and precise movements such as writing, typing or handling tools.
- Decreased sensation: Some people with KTS have problems with sensation of temperature, texture or pain in the hand and fingers.
- Impaired quality of life: If left untreated, KTS can lead to limitations in daily life and work, which can have a negative impact on quality of life.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not life-threatening, but its symptoms can significantly affect a person’s life. If you suspect you have KTS, you should see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to choose the best treatment. If left untreated, it can lead to irreversible changes in the median nerve and loss of function in the fingers, resulting not only in loss of ability to work, but also loss of full self-care. It is therefore important not to ignore the first signs of damage and to seek professional medical help from a neurologist or surgeon.
What can we do ourselves?
To reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, you can take several measures:
- use the right keyboard and mouse: choose ergonomic devices that support the natural posture of the hand and wrist. You can also use a wrist rest to reduce pressure on the hands. But putting in the right furniture can also create wonders. Ergonomic and smart furniture in your office, such as a height-adjustable desk, prevents many diseases – including KTS.
- Take regular breaks: breaks allow your hands to rest and relieve tension. It is recommended to take a break every hour to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. In taking a break, you are doing something for the whole body and supporting your health. During the time when your electric height-adjustable desk is adjusting itself, for example, you can quietly do eye exercises in addition.
- adopt the correct posture: if you have to sit straight at your desk, keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Keep your hands level with the keyboard and mouse.
- do hand exercises: Hand and wrist exercises can improve blood circulation and reduce tension in the hands and wrists.
- Pay attention to your health: the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome may be increased by other diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your general health.
In general, following these measures can help reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome and improve your computer performance.