Who really ‘gets it’ when it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome? People who type at computers, cut hair or otherwise work with their hands may think they have it, but many are misguided.

“There has not been any scientific study that proves that it is people who have these repetitive jobs,” says Dr. Dennis Sagini, an orthopedic surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.

The National Institute of Health states many times the pain coming from repetitive motions is actually bursitis or tendonitis. Carpal tunnel is a condition where the nerve that passes through the wrist in compressed.

“There are nine tendons and one nerve that passed through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and you can have conditions that cause increased pressure through the wrist thus causing pressure on the nerve and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Sagini.

While its true desk jockeys are not prone to get carpal tunnel syndrome, people who perform physical tasks may be at risk.

“The only scientific evidence we do have is people who deal with vibration in their work like construction workers who are working with jackhammers. Those people have a proven link between their job and carpal tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Sagini.

Other groups of people are also predisposed. Amy Saracino amonng them.

“It was mostly just kind of tingly. Not quite like your arms have fallen asleep but just like they’re tired and they kind of don’t feel right.”

She did have a risk factor but it had nothing to do with her desk job.

“Many people who have disease condition like arthritis, diabetes, women who become pregnant, any disease condition that can cause swelling, adema, thickening of tissue can cause carpal tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Sagini.

In Amy’s case it was pregnancy that brought on her carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also be genetic or injury related. Treatment ranges from exercises to injection or if pain persists, surgery.

“There is endoscopic carpal tunnel which is done through a scope with an incision across the wrist and then there’s open carpal tunnel which is done with an incision that’s in the direction from the wrist towards the finger,” says Dr. Sagini.

Amy got by with a few simple stretches.

“You know do some hand stretches, do some wrist rolls, just something to kind of get your arms out of that position.”

She’s now back at her desk, working pain free.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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