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The 411 on carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by repetitive strain, which can cause the ligaments in the wrist to become inflamed and pinch a nerve.

Symptoms include tingling, numbness and pain in the arm and hand, and they can be similar to tendinitis, which is less serious.

There are several occupations that are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel, including:
• Chefs
• Dentists
• Musicians
• Teachers
• Construction workers
• Electricians
• People who work at computers

Before you decide to change your job, here are some steps you can take to prevent the condition.

• Relax your grip. Make an effort to reduce the force you use when doing things like typing.
• Take breaks often. Give your hands and wrists a break, and stretch them out frequently.
• Improve your posture. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact this has on your muscles and nerves.
• Keep your hands warm. You are more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you work in cold conditions.

Sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome can go away on its own, but many people require treatment – so if you experience symptoms, see a doctor. If wrist splints or corticosteroid hormone injections fail to work, surgery may relieve the pressure off the pinched nerve, providing relief.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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