The hand and the wrist are so often taken for granted that we tend to forget they are vulnerable to injury or ailment that may alter the course of lives at work and home. The wrist, of course, is a joint subject to the woes of arthritis, but we can blame the digital age for what has become a common ailment of the extremities, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
CTS was virtually unknown for decades after the first diagnosed case in 1933, but it is a diagnosis all too common in the 21st Century. It has become the most frequently diagnosed of peripheral compression-induced neuropathies. This is an abnormality of the peripheral nervous system, the result of a compression of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel that runs across your inner wrist from the palm of the hand and continues along the inside of the forearm. Surrounding tendons, ligaments and tiny bones compress into a tunnel around the nerve, resulting in pain and weakness. It may affect as much as five percent of the adult population of the United States.
CTS is known to be caused by repetitive actions that may seem minor, even inconsequential, such as manipulating a computer keyboard day after day. But modern medicine tells us that it a bit more complicated than that. It may seem to some sufferers that the pain was instigated by a singular event or action, but repetition of movement is more likely the precursor to those symptoms.
There are surgical and pharmaceutical remedies, of course, as well as more noninvasive sources of relief available via physical therapy and chiropractic treatments, notably acupuncture, that starts with a thorough examination at Oakland Spine + Physical Therapy. It may come as a referral from an M.D. or surgeon, but the care and treatment of CTS is an example of how chiropractic, physical therapy and conventional medicine continue to join forces in the healing sciences.
Many people spend hours a day on their computer at home over and above what they do in their workplaces. There are numerous jobs deemed most likely to result in a CTS diagnosis. Computers and related technologies aren’t the only explanation for why some are calling the estimated eight million CTS cases a year an epidemic.
On the job front alone, we’ve been apprised of some of the vocations most apt to lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome aside from those that are computer-related:
Food Service and Restaurants— Food processing and preparation, including chefs and servers, require fast-paced and repetitive use of the hands and wrists with the potential for strain. This extends to bartenders and even dishwashers.
Building Construction— Jarring tools that vibrate, including jackhammers, power saws and power hammers, can provide repetition in quick time and accelerate CTS symptoms. Wrenches and other hand tools wielded by carpenters, plumbers, electricians and others in these trades strain wrists and hands on a regular basis.
Industrial/Manufacturing— Many jobs in manufacturing are very repetitious for machine operators, product assemblers and packagers. Repetition and strain abound.
The Beauty Industry— Women are more susceptible to CTS, based on the numbers diagnosed and treated, and this is a field that is predominantly female. They also use tools that may exacerbate this vulnerability that has an anatomical cause: smaller carpal tunnels.
Healthcare— Doctors, surgeons, nurses, medical technicians, physical therapists and chiropractors rely on their hands frequently to treat patients and operate a variety of equipment and healing tools.
As it turns out, few contemporary jobs can escape the reliance on their fingers, hands and wrists and the potential for repetition and strain.
—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy to learn how to remedy the ills of CTS.—