Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Carpal Tunnel Screening Offered Wednesday

Have you been moving so fast that you are ignoring a tingling or numbness in your hand, or a shooting pain in your arm? You could be exhibiting the early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The carpal tunnel is a passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons. Swelling constricts the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed, resulting in pain, weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist. This pain can move up your arm.

Symptoms are not immediate - you may feel burning, tingling or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers. The symptoms often appear originally at night. You may feel the need to "shake out" your hard or wrist when you wake up.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often congenital, as some people are born with smaller tunnels. Other risk factors include injury to the wrist like a sprain, fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause, rheumatoid arthritis or mechanical problems in the wrist. Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

One common misconception is that overuse at the computer can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, writer's cramp, where there is aching in the fingers, wrist or forearm from repetitive use, is not a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome. The syndrome is three times more common among assemblers than data-entry personnel. One blog that offers tips for dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome and repetititive stress injuries can be found here.

LifeBridge Health is pleased to offer a free carpal tunnel syndrome hand screening on Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at LifeBridge Health & Fitness. Stephen Fisher, M.D., will be on hand to conduct the screening and answer questions. Call 410-601-WELL to register.

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