Bloggers: Do You Have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?
By stefdelacruzmd on December 08, 2013
Bloggers who spend majority of their time typing away at home are at risk for many conditions related to inadequate mobility. Paradoxically, if you blog day in and day out, that means you’re also prone to one other condition that’s actually due to repetitive injury: carpal tunnel syndrome.
But when you think of carpal tunnel syndrome, you probably think of someone who spends all day typing, right? It turns out that there are many other ways to injure your wrist.
You don't have to be a typing genius like Mavis Beacon to end up with carpel tunnel; you can get it playing tennis, playing video games, and even by spending too much time behind the wheel. Carpel tunnel syndrome is also a side effect of rheumatoid arthritis, which means you can hurt your carpal tunnel without even engaging in strenuous activity.
Here's what you need to know about your carpel tunnel, and what you should do if you suspect you have this syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms
People like to joke that they've got carpel tunnel syndrome every time their wrists ache a bit at the end of a long day. Trust me; that's not what carpel tunnel syndrome feels like at all.
It isn't the typical tension ache that you can shake out of your wrists by the time you walk out your office door. It's actually a distinct tingling that does not go away. This tingling is often accompanied by numbness or by shooting pains that travel from your wrist up through your arm.
Here's how Jane, a 42-year-old woman from Southern California, described her symptoms in a CVS interview:
“It began as pain on my right side, mostly in my arm. But it progressed from my wrist, to my elbow, up my shoulders, and into my neck. My fingers tingled and felt numb. I would feel okay at the start of the day, but by later in the day, it felt terrible!”
Most people who think they have carpel tunnel syndrome begin with at-home treatment. This includes anything from wrist braces to applying ice or heat to the wrists. However, professional medical treatment is nearly always required.
When Sarah, a blogger (and also a doctor) living abroad developed carpel tunnel syndrome because she spent about 5 hours each day navigating the interweb, she figured it would just go away, like it often did with a pulled muscle or a stubbed toe. What she was too stubborn to accept was that she would be needing so much more than wrist exercises to deal with the pain.
She told me that she did some research into what kinds of carpal tunnel surgery Los Angeles could offer her. All it took was a simple surgical procedure that could cut the constricting transverse carpal ligament, relieving pressure on the median nerve. It was a quick and easy outpatient procedure.
Holly, whom I mentioned earlier, also ended up getting surgery to fix her carpel tunnel. If you develop carpel tunnel syndrome, you'll probably end up getting surgery as well, but don't worry; you'll be glad you did.
How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to prevent carpel tunnel syndrome, especially in a world that is increasingly reliant on fine-motor tasks such as typing, texting, and driving. However, the Mayo Clinic has a number of suggestions to help stave off carpel tunnel syndrome, including relaxing your grip, practicing good posture, and taking frequent breaks.
I learned from a fellow blogger that using the Pomodoro technique could help me focus. It was only after I started using it that I realized how it could also help prevent deep venous thrombosis, back ache, eye strain, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Try it!
If you’re blogging way too much or spending a lot of time doing tasks that involve your hands and wrists, you're probably at risk for carpel tunnel syndrome. Take steps now before you actually get symptoms! Prevention is always better (and cheaper!) than an ounce of cure. As I always say, blog with moderation – and don’t forget to enjoy the world outside of your computer.
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