Have you ever felt a numbness, tingling or shooting pain in your hands? If so you might be one of millions of people worldwide who suffer with Carpal Tunnel syndrome. The causes of Carpal Tunnel have long been contested, and previously doctors argues that it might be caused by “overuse” of the wrist – ie people sat still at a desk typing all day. New research points the finger at our smartphone addiction, with a possible link between smartphone use and Carpal tunnel recently being reported by the DailyMail and CNN after research in Hong Kong found a link.
The carpal tunnel is a small passageway in your wrist that the median nerve travels through. It is thought that this passageway can become compressed and in turn compress the median nerve. This results in a number of symptoms such as:
- Pins and needles in your hand (known to medical professionals as paresthesia)
- Thumb Weakness (the median nerve controls your thumb)
- A dull ache in your hand
Could Carpal Tunnel Be Linked with texting?
The study, published in the Journal Muscle and Nerve asked a small number of patients (48_ to fill out questionnaires on their wrist pain before taking tests to see whether they has numbness and tingling – the classic symptoms of carpal tunnel. They found that patients who used their devices for 4-5 hours a day or more often had enlarged median nerves (seen in carpal tunnel) and had more pain in their wrists.
The director of Arthritis Research UK talked to the DailyMail, and said of the results
‘Previously we only saw this type of repetitive strain injury in people using a mouse and keyboard at work.
‘Now we have these new repetitive movements, swiping and tapping, in our leisure time, as people are barely ever without their smartphones and tablets.
‘This is a real new challenge for the 21st century and I would encourage anyone suffering symptoms of burning and tingling to contact their GP promptly.”
He also noted that the sample size of the study was small – and more research is needed.
What Can Be Done About Carpal Tunnel?
A number of specialist clinics across the united states can provide excellent care if you think you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. The treatments usually include the following:
- Self Care: Take it easy – rest up! If you are over using a keyboard then stop!
- Medication: Drugs like Ibuprofen can reduce swelling and inflammation in the nerve and reduce pain
- A splint or brace: These can be bought cheaply online and keep the wrist in a position that doesn’t hurt.
- Steroid injection: Corticosteroids can be injected right into the wrist – these are much more powerful than simple painkillers.
- Surgery: Some clinics will offer a surgery that opens up the roof of the passageway (the carpal tunnel) and reduces pressure on the median nerve.
If you or someone you know are suffering from carpal tunnel, contact a specialist clinic today.