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How to recognize and treat carpal tunnel syndrome

If you sit at a computer all day, you've probably heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. And the common syndrome doesn't just affect office workers - anyone who performs the same motions over and over with their hands may be at risk.

Luckily, carpal tunnel syndrome is usually relatively easy to treat if detected early enough. But it's also important to know there are other causes of hand and wrist pain that can be hard to distinguish from carpal tunnel syndrome, so you should consult a doctor to be sure.

Symptoms

One of the main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome to watch out for is tingling and numbness in your hand, according to the Mayo Clinic. This usually occurs in all fingers except your little finger, and may wake you up while sleeping. You may also feel your fingers or hand tingle or go numb while holding your phone or gripping the steering wheel while driving.

You also may notice weakness in your hand, making you more likely to drop things you're holding.

These symptoms can be fleeting, but they can intensify over time. If the tingling feeling becomes increasingly harder to shake off, it's a good idea to see a doctor.

Treatment

If detected early enough, carpal tunnel syndrome can often be treated fairly easily, with a wrist split, rest and some pain relief. In more extreme cases, however, surgery may be necessary.

If your job has contributed to a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome that requires surgery, you may be eligible for workers' compensation. Even in minor cases, you may want to talk to your employer about ways to prevent further strain on your hands and wrists.

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