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Carpal tunnel syndrome impacts many office workers

People who work in offices might think that they are much safer than people who have other professions. While they may not have to deal with the same risks, there are some specific dangers that do need to be considered.

One potential injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is commonly associated with people who work primarily on computers. This condition doesn't usually come on all at once. It is a cumulative trauma injury, so it starts off as a minor bother and progressively gets worse.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the median nerve is compressed in the wrist. This is one of the major nerves that runs to the hand. The pressure on the nerve can cause damage that worsens until the problem is addressed. In the most serious cases, the damage can be permanent.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain and tingling in the hard and arm. The areas might feel numb or burn. The index, middle and ring finger, as well as the thumb can all be impacted. You may notice that shock-like feelings travel to these points. You could feel sensations that move up the arm toward the shoulder. Weakness and dropping things are also common. Even buttoning your clothing might prove to be a challenge.

For many people, the symptoms will come and go at first. As time goes on, the symptoms begin to be present more. They may increase in severity. Shaking your hands or moving them around might help to alleviate these symptoms.

How is it diagnosed?

You need to go to the doctor for a diagnosis. You will provide a medical history and give information about the symptoms. You might also be asked to perform specific movements that help the doctor pinpoint the problem. Other tests, such as imaging scans and electrophysiological testing, are sometimes used. Once the doctor makes the diagnosis, a treatment plan will be made.

What are the treatments?

It is possible to have non-surgical treatments if the condition is found early. These include taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, using a splint or brace, and changing your activities. Nerve glide activities and steroid injections may be necessary.

More serious cases can require surgery. The surgeon will determine what type of procedure is necessary depending on the severity of the condition and the results of the testing. Surgery is typically done as an outpatient procedure, but can involve general anesthesia so you will be asleep.

You might have to take time off from work if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you need to have surgery. You may want to file for workers' compensation or even disability, depending on the severity and the amount of time that you are expected to remain away from your job.

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