Women are three times more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome than men, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke suggests. APTA provides prevention tips.
There are two definitive tests to diagnose carpal tunnel: Tinel’s and Phalen’s, according to a media release from HealthyWomen HealthyMen LLC.
Tinel’s requires tapping on the underside of the wrist, and if shooting pains in the hand occur, it is considered positive. Phalen’s requires holding both wrists in a back-to-back position in front of the body with the wrists bent at 90 degrees and holding for 90 seconds. If the hands feel heavy, tingling, burning, or numb, then it is considered a positive sign.
The other co-occurring issue that goes along with carpal tunnel is called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) and can mimic carpal tunnel. Tightness, soreness and restrictions in the neck, shoulder, chest muscles and/or a slight shift in one of the ribs can gently press on the nerves and blood vessels that go into the wrist and hands.
These are easily corrected by a physical therapist, or with regular head, neck, arm and shoulder exercises that open these regions, the release explains.
The American Physical Therapy Association offers these tips for women to limit their chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Only move your fingers and keep your wrists straight when typing, and try using a keyboard pad to rest your wrists during breaks.
- Maintain good posture to reduce strain when typing. Make sure your spine is flush with the back of the chair, your shoulders are relaxed, and your feet are flat on the floor.
- Keep your computer monitor at eye level, so you don’t have to bend your neck.
- Take frequent breaks from activities that require repetitive motion. Even slicing and dicing can put strain on the wrist.
- Consider using a wrist brace at night or when playing sports to keep the wrist in a neutral position and allow it to be supported.
[Source(s): HealthyWomen HealthyMen LLC, PR Newswire]