Top 5 Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Your nerves, while extremely effective in helping you sense and respond to the world around you, are incredibly vulnerable parts of your anatomy. The slightest change in pressure can cause them to send a flurry of signals telling your brain they’re in trouble. 

So when your nerves feel intense irritation and pressure of inflammation that comes with carpal tunnel syndrome, the result is significant discomfort, tingling, and weakness. 

Of all the causes of nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome — a nerve disorder that impacts the median nerve in your wrist — is perhaps the most common. In fact, upwards of 10 million Americans live with this nerve disorder. 

What’s worse is that many of them didn’t realize they were at risk before getting their diagnosis. 

Dr. David Wu at CurePain knows that the best way to be proactive about preventing and treating nerve conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome is to be completely informed about your risk factors. To learn more about your likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, here’s everything you need to know about the five most common risk factors

#1: Workplace factors

Whether you’re on an assembly line or crunching numbers at a computer all day, where you work matters when it comes to wrist health. Repetitive flexing of your wrist, prolonged use of vibrating tools, or keeping your wrist in an unnatural position for an extended amount of time, such as when using a computer mouse, can irritate the nerves and cause tingling, numbness, and weakness. 

#2: Your bone structure

Sometimes, your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome is built into your DNA. The median nerve, which runs the length of your arm through your wrist, needs adequate room to function properly. If you have a smaller frame, the rigid tendons and bones that make up your carpal tunnel might be narrow, which can put pressure on your median nerve and result in irritation and damage. 

Women tend to be at a higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome due to their naturally smaller frames.

#3: Fluid retention

When your body retains fluids, it increases the pressure on your tissues and nerves. If you’re prone to fluid retention, you’re more likely to experience the side effects of undue stress on your median nerve. 

Furthermore, many pregnant and menopausal women experience carpal tunnel syndrome as their bodies go through hormonal changes. However, it’s common for carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms to improve on their own after pregnancy. 

#4: Previous injury

Have you ever dislocated or fractured your wrist? You’re at an increased risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Injuries can deform your wrist and cause the small bones to change, resulting in a narrower carpal tunnel and the potential for nerve damage. 

#5: Health conditions

There’s a wide variety of health conditions that can increase your likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Certain chronic conditions that impact your nerve health, such as diabetes, and others that cause wide-spread inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to an irritated median nerve. 

Other conditions that can cause carpal tunnel include:

Talk to Dr. Wu about any and all health conditions you have as they can help him understand your unique situation and guide his treatment recommendations. 

Addressing carpal tunnel syndrome

If you identify with one or more of the risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome, we understand that you likely have concerns about how you can prevent and treat it. That’s where our expert comes in. Take a closer look at some things you can do to ward off carpal tunnel syndrome and our comprehensive treatment options.

How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

There’s no guarantee that you’ll never develop carpal tunnel syndrome, but there are a few adjustments you can make to your daily routine that may help delay or prevent it. Dr. Wu recommends that you take breaks from work to rest and stretch your hands, wrists, and forearms. 

Try to pay attention to how firmly you grip tools or how hard you pound on the keyboard as well. Constant tension in your wrist can turn into significant nerve irritation. 

Making these simple but effective changes to your daily routine can have a positive impact on your nerve health and possibly prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome

Dr. Wu specializes in identifying and treating carpal tunnel syndrome and offers a variety of treatments to help you find quick, lasting relief from your symptoms. Depending on your needs, he recommends on the following treatments:

Only in the most severe cases, or if you’re not responding to conservative treatments, does Dr. Wu recommend surgery. 

If you’d like more information about your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome or have developed symptoms and would like to be evaluated, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Torrance, California office today. 

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