Carpal tunnel syndrome is an extremely common ailment, often agitated due to repetitive actions present in many careers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the hand and wrist, creating numbness, tingling, and pain. These symptoms range in severity and the treatments for carpal tunnel thus vary accordingly. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, occupations that are most often associated with this ailment include sewers, cashiers, and clerical workers.
I personally developed this syndrome as the result of a career in cake decorating. The repetitive hand and wrist motions of squeezing frosting tubes placed strain on my tendons and caused fibrous tissue to form. My mother, a server for over thirty years, also experienced this syndrome in greater severity due to the repeated actions of carrying plates and trays. It is common scientific knowledge that this syndrome is more frequently found in women.
After consulting a doctor for my own carpal tunnel syndrome, I was provided with a splint and prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. During an extremely busy shift, it was quite evident that my carpal tunnel became more agitated. I experienced numbness and extreme pain. Given these occupational complaints, I made the choice to switch careers. Now, with no further treatment, I only occasionally experience symptoms, most often from frequent typesetting. I therefore use a cushioned mouse-pad and place a cold compress on the affected area under agitation. After leaving my full-time cake decorating career, I no longer require the splint or regular medication.
My mother, however, remained in her occupation and thus was subject to both corticosteroid injections and eventual surgery for her carpal tunnel syndrome. She described the injections as being extremely uncomfortable with little benefit. Therefore, she quickly ended these treatments and opted for surgery. In carpal tunnel release, a surgeon will cut through the carpal ligament to make more space for the nerve and tendons. After surgery, healing took months for my mother. Her children had to help with many daily tasks. Far more unfortunate than the long healing process was the fact that she saw her carpal tunnel return in approximately one year’s time. She has since also been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which is a fairly common dual diagnosis for aging women.
Given the probability of development of this disease in women, it is highly advisable that females do all they can to prevent and avoid this painful syndrome.