Pinpointing Carpal Tunnel-Related Wrist Pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an uncomfortable condition where pressure is placed on the median nerve, which is located in the wrist. Along with repetitive hand motions, other factors such as the specific anatomy in a person’s wrists or other underlying health problems can also contribute to the condition. Common symptoms include tingling or numbness in the fingers and hands. And in some cases, people experience weakness where holding or picking up objects with the affected hand can be difficult.
Does typing cause carpal tunnel?
Technically speaking, typing can be considered a repetitive task. However, some research suggests that spending copious amounts of time at a keyboard writing communications or papers isn’t the culprit behind the development of carpal tunnel. Research indicates that extensive mouse use is more likely to cause carpal tunnel. But, the full answer is tricky. While typing may not cause the condition, the repetitive action can make symptoms worse. But for people experiencing carpal tunnel-related pain, the distinction between driving a condition and exacerbating symptoms may feel like semantics.
Carpal tunnel versus tendinitis
One of the biggest indicators that carpal tunnel is at play is when a patient identifies numbness and tingling in specific fingers. In many cases, discomfort is felt in the first, second, and third fingers. But many people incorrectly assume carpal tunnel is the culprit, even when the entire hand is numb and tingly. Tendinitis is a condition with similar symptoms to carpal tunnel, except the numbness and tingling may appear throughout the entire hand. Likewise, tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, while carpal tunnel refers to nerve compression.
Don’t forget underlying conditions
While typing makes an obvious scapegoat for both carpal tunnel and tendinitis, the reality is that other scenarios can cause both conditions to form. Common culprits include:
- Age and flexibility
- Poor wrist posture
- Bones or joints not properly positioned
- Experiencing a sudden injury
Treating wrist pain
Whether carpal tunnel or tendinitis is the source of wrist pain, treatment methods can be similar depending on the severity of discomfort. Experts agree that engaging in hot and cold therapy, wearing a splint or brace, and even taking over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce symptoms. Additionally, paying attention to posture or reviewing workspaces to ensure ergonomic devices are in place to provide proper support can also help. People experiencing severe pain from either carpal tunnel or tendinitis should speak with a physician.