Often, the earliest sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is failure to feel textures or touch. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can eventually lead to the inability to grip things firmly and to significant weakness and wasting of the muscles of the hand controlled by the median nerve.
Whether the causes are systemic or the result of repetitive stress, most injuries to the carpal tunnel are easily prevented and entirely correctable if recognized early. Failure of the patient to stop or change the activity that brings on the discomfort can result in permanent, irreversible damage to the nerves and muscles in the hand, wrist or other parts of the body.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- A tingling or numb feeling in the hand, usually just in the thumb and first three fingers.
- Shooting pains in the wrist or forearm, and sometimes extending to the shoulder, neck and chest, or foot.
- Difficulty clenching the fist or grasping small objects.
The natural position of the hand in most normal activities is straight or slightly bent at the wrist, with the thumb more or less in line with the forearm. Bending the hand forward or backward at the wrist for extended periods stresses the carpal nerves. So, learn to keep your wrist and hand as straight as possible as you work.
If your job calls for repetitive hand or finger work, take breaks and exercise your hands and wrists every hour. If you work at an office keyboard, use a wrist support to help prevent unnatural bending and make sure your desk and chair height are in keeping with your stature. Finally, if carpal tunnel symptoms begin, don’t work through the pain. Get a professional diagnosis and follow recommendations.