Image © Petr Kurecka.
Office work is hard on the eyes, brain… and especially the hands, as symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome emerge after years of abuse. Carpal tunnel syndrome should never be ignored, nor should treatment be postponed. As soon as these symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome emerge, you should see your doctor immediately.
Numbness in fingers and hand. You find that your hand “falls asleep” often when working. Or you have less sensation in the fingers and thumb. If this is how you feel after a few hours of work, congratulations – you now have the very first symptoms of carpal tunnel right in your hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome begins very slowly – sufferers report feeling tingling or numbness in the fingers and palm. This usually happens when the sufferer grips something between thumb and forefinger – holding a cellphone, for example, or steering a car.
Decreased Grip Strength. Whoops! becomes a constant refrain in your life, as you begin to drop pens, coffee mugs, and utensils. As pain makes work impossible, your hand muscles may atrophy, decreasing your ability to hang on to small objects.
You’ll find it difficult to grasp small objects, clench your fists, or perform manual tasks around the office. You’ll have difficulty supporting yourself on stairs or climbing into a truck.
Pain Radiating up the Forearm. Carpal tunnel sufferers report feeling a shooting or burning pain moving up from the center of their forearm to their shoulder and neck. This occurs after repetitive or stressful use of one’s hands. Sometimes the pain is constant – an ache felt around the upper shoulder and neck.
Cold Hands with warm forearms. As the nerve in your carpal tunnel gets pinched, blood circulation around the area gets constricted as well, contributing to the odd sensation of having two different temperature gradients on the forearm and hand.
Loss of fine motor skills. This progresses from the swollen and numb feeling in your fingers and hand, as motor skills begin to give way to the numbness. Everyday fine motor skills like writing, moving a mouse around, buttoning a shirt, or tying a shoe become almost impossible to do.
If any of these symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome appear, you must consult your doctor immediately. Carpal tunnel syndrome, if left untreated, interferes with work, interrupts sleep, and leads to more severe nerve and muscle damage.
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