What is CTS?
In layman’s terms, as I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, the carpal tunnel is a tiny tube in your wrist bridging the gap between your arm and hand that operates like a subway tunnel enabling a major nerve known as the median as well as tendons to move through this tunnel. The median nerve links the muscles of your forearm to the palm and the other tendons that pass through the tunnel to your digits. The tendons are vital to operating (bending, pointing, summoning) those fingers. Although the numbers are a little higher for women, statistically 3% of the population suffers from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). But it’s more like 10% of people who regularly work at a computer who experience symptoms of this ailment.
The carpal subway station protects that nerve and the tendons from the bones and ligaments that surround it in that tightly constructed wrist of yours. This subway tunnel is extremely narrow, however, and is therefore vulnerable to all that structure surrounding it and anything that causes swelling or pressure on the carpal tunnel. Perhaps you know from bad dental experiences about the pain and discomfort that can result from the agitation of nerves. Too much pressure on that median nerve can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which usually consists of pain or numbing in the wrist and hands akin to arthritis. It can cause any or all of the following; pain, tingling, numbness, and inability to grip. Sometimes it feels like you just can’t hold on to something because of a sharp pain and some folks get it so bad that they can’t perform simple tasks like buttoning a shirt.
Activities That Can Trigger CTS in DTP Professionals
- Repetitive actions like typing on a keyboard or manipulating a mouse for long periods of time.
- Frequently utilizing tools that are too big for your hands.
- Assembly line type of work, repetive preparation of marketing materials in something like a notebook for example, or anything that’s got you stretching and contorting those wrists and hands.
- If you’ve ever had a wrist fracture, even a mild one that you never had a doctor look at. (that is how I got it).
This post is part of the series: Ergonomically Corect Desktop Publishers
This series offers knowledge, tips, and exercises to deal with or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and minor eye sight problems which can become more serious without practicing the habits described here. Before you spend another day at the computer, please read this.