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Family Health: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Doctors say it's not just typing that can bring on the condition.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain in your wrists and hands. It develops when a nerve in the forearm - to the palm of the hand - gets pinched at the wrist.

Symptoms include pain, numbness, or weakness. It's long been thought that typing contributes to carpal tunnel's development, but at least one doctor says that is not the case.

"High impact, high vibration types of jobs like running air hammers, jackhammers, things like that, probably do raise the risk. Other occupations, repetitive low force like typing, is a great example, has been shown to have pretty much no increased risk or very little increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome," says Dr. David Shapiro of the Cleveland Clinic.

He says the good news is most people can manage the pain without surgery or medication.

"Sometimes just buying a little wrist splint at the drug store, you want one that holds your wrist kind of straight, not bent back like that and you wear it at night for a couple of weeks and that can stop the discomfort and make a big difference, make the symptoms go away and very often they'll stay away," Dr. Shapiro says.

If the symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend a cortisone shot. For the most serious cases, surgery is typically recommended.
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