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AGE SPOTS   
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CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME   
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WHOOPING COUGH

CARPAL  TUNNEL SYNDROME

While many of us have jobs that take us hither and yon, one day never like the other, for the majority of us, life is all about repetition.  We get up, go to work, perform fairly ritualistic tasks (e.g.  typing, moving furniture, scrubbing floors, repairing cars, stocking shelves, etc.), and then close the evening out with some dinner, a little TV viewing or book reading, and then hitting the sack before the clock strikes 12.

Then repeat.

Now, many of us are creatures of habit, so rituals and routines bring a sense of comfort, not stress.  But for your wrists, it’s just the opposite: Routine is all stress, no comfort.  That’s why carpal tunnel syndrome, of all the illnesses and diseases someone can get that forces them to miss work, is responsible for more days of work missed than almost any other condition (an average of 28 days).

Before I get into how carpal tunnel can be rectified and—even better!—prevented, it’s important to know what carpal tunnel syndrome is.

In layman’s terms, carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the wrists after performing tasks that require significant hand and finger work.  The “carpal tunnel,” as it’s called, is inside of the hand and inside of the carpal tunnel is what’s called the median nerve.  This is really what gets damaged when carpal tunnel is diagnosed, as the median nerve becomes compressed ever so slowly with each and every ritualistic movement.  Things boil over when you start to feel typical symptoms associated with carpal tunnel, like numbness, tingling or burning in the fingers.  This pain is felt in the palm of the hands as well and often eventually in the arms elbows.  If left untreated, this progressive condition can leave the fingers and hands useless, where you can’t grip a hand rail or tell the difference between a piping hot coal or a freezing cold cube of ice.

Surprisingly, more women than men have carpal tunnel syndrome.  In fact, women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel.  This may be due to women working in more clerical job positions than men, but most believe it’s due to the difference between a man and woman’s bone structure.  Women simply don’t have as big of wrists as men, hence have a smaller carpal tunnel.

Even though knights of the keyboard (i.e., journalists, secretaries, office workers, etc.)  are definitely at risk for developing carpal tunnel, they’re not the most at risk.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2006 found that laborers and movers had the highest rate of carpal tunnel syndrome-related injuries, followed by customer service representatives, secretaries (or administrative assistants, to use the politically correct term) and janitors.

If you have a history of carpal tunnel in your family (genetics does play into the risk for developing it), and are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, you can nip it in the bud without having to resort to surgery or localized injections.

For starters buy yourself wrist and palm supports for your desk.  These supports prop up the hands and wrists so that typing is done in a more ergonomically-correct fashion.

Another thing to do is to take breaks.  Even if those breaks are for two to three minutes, give your wrists a break from those ritualistic motions.  Should your boss have a problem with your breaks, just tell him how much money he or she will be saving as a result.  The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that carpal tunnel costs families and businesses about $30,000 in medical expenses and lost job productivity.

Finally there are some nutrients you can take to improve nerve function and healing.  These include vitamin B complex, zinc (helps with healing), and co-enzyme Q10.

For treatment, consider taking aloe vera, devil’s claw, yarrow or bromelain.  All of these supplements help lessen the swelling and inflammation associated with carpal tunnel.

 

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