Can You Get Carpal Tunnel From Gaming
The term “carpal tunnel” can be confusing for some since it sounds like something you’d find on a horse or dog instead of your hand. But the condition has been around for centuries thanks to its namesake – the Roman soldier Marcus Venerius Carpus, who died during battle in 69 B.C.E. The soldier’s right hand was badly injured when he lost his grip from holding a spear. Despite surgery, the injury never healed properly and eventually led to amputation of that arm. In fact, the word “carpal” comes from Latin for “hand.”
In modern times, carpal tunnel refers to inflammation of the median nerve inside the wrist, which controls parts of the hand such as thumb movement and feeling. It may also refer to pain in the area near the base of the thumb where the median nerve travels through the wrist. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, burning, shooting pains, weakness and sometimes loss of muscle control. Pain usually worsens after prolonged activity and improves with rest.
According to Dr. Michael D. Solleder, medical director at the University of Florida Orthopaedic Center, carpal tunnel occurs most often in middle-aged women. Women have smaller carpal bones than men, so their wrists are closer together and don’t offer enough room for the median nerve. Also, women tend to spend more time doing activities that involve repetitive motions of the hands, such as typing at a computer keyboard. These actions put pressure on the wrist joint, causing swelling that irritates the nerves.
Although carpal tunnel can occur in anyone, certain health conditions and jobs can increase your chances of getting it. For example, arthritis affects joints and makes them less flexible, which puts increased stress on the wrist. Diabetes damages blood vessels, which can cause circulation problems that affect the nerves. Rheumatoid arthritis is another autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and swelling, making the tendons and ligaments surrounding the wrist sore spots. Surgeons also get carpal tunnel from performing repetitive tasks too long or using improper techniques.
To prevent carpal tunnel, experts recommend taking breaks every 30 minutes or so to stretch out the muscles surrounding the wrist and fingers. This will not only keep you active but help relieve any tension in the area. If you work on a computer all day, take care of your posture and position your monitor correctly. And if you’re playing video games, try to avoid those that require quick movements of the hands. Instead, pick up a controller and play one that uses your whole body rather than just arms and legs. Finally, wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Wearing tight shoes can cut off oxygen supply to the foot, putting extra strain on the toes. Plus, wearing high heels doesn’t necessarily give better balance. Balance issues can lead to falls, which can injure yourself and aggravate carpal tunnel symptoms.
If you do experience carpal tunnel, consult your doctor immediately. He or she can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and stiffness. Your physician might also suggest physical therapy, massage therapy or acupuncture. Surgery is available if other treatments fail. However, according to Dr. Solleder, surgery should be the last resort because it carries side effects including scar tissue and stiffness.
So how did this condition end up being named after a Roman soldier? Learn about that next.
Roman Soldier Caught Up in Battle Caused By Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Discovery Health News
Kathleen L. McAllister writes for Discovery Health News. She explores fascinating discoveries in the world of science, exploring topics from nutrition to medicine. To subscribe to regular updates, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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