Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common and potentially disabling injuries experienced in today's office settings where computer work is extensive. Your knowledge of symptoms, and potential causes, can help you avoid injuries, or aid in the recovery from this and other common Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI’s).
The median nerve travels from the forearm into your hand through a “tunnel” on the underside of your wrist. Wrist bones form the bottom and sides of this tunnel, and a strong band of connective tissue called a ligament covers the top of the tunnel. This tunnel also contains nine tendons that connect muscles to bones and bend your fingers and thumb. These tendons are covered with a lubricating membrane called synovium, which may enlarge and swell under certain conditions. If the swelling is sufficient, it may cause the median nerve to be pressed up against the strong ligament which may result in numbness, tingling in your hand, clumsiness, or pain in the palm and base of the thumb.
Most RSI’s are preventable or curable if caught and addressed early. The key is to notice trouble when it starts, and do something about it. In general, the more intense and frequent the symptoms, and the longer they last, the more serious your injury is likely to be.
If you think you are starting to develop CTS, see your physiotherapist for positioning advice, strengthening and posture exercises, and treatments.