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Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that causes numbness, tingling and weakness in the arm and hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs due to the pressure exerted on the median nerve of the wrist. If proper treatment is not received, the injury can lead to permanent damage.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common repetitive strain injuries for computer professionals.
In the human forearm, several tendons as well as the median nerve run to the hand via the carpal tunnel. The movement and sense of feeling in the first three fingers and thumb is controlled by the median. Any pressure exerted on the median nerve can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. However, diseases or swelling can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of the disease include pain in the fingers as well as numbness in palm and fingers. As symptoms worsen, people experience decreased grip strength and often find it difficult to perform manual tasks. Physical examination of hands and arms can provide for early diagnosis and treatment. The tenderness of the wrist is examined. Specific tests are available for detecting carpal tunnel syndrome such as the Phalen test.
Mild symptoms can treated with rest, ice on the wrist, wearing a wrist splint or by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery is also considered as an option in cases where home care measures cannot help. The disease can be prevented by an active lifestyle, ergonomic conditions for working, by taking breaks, keeping wrists straight and using correct posture and wrist position, especially while working.
Computer professionals are advised to adjust the height and angle of their chairs and take breaks from constant typing in order to help avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. Use of ergonomic furniture specific for computer usage is also recommended.