Most people immediately think of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) when they start experiencing numbness or tingling in the thumb and next 2 or 3 fingers, numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand, pain in the wrist or hand, pain that extends to the elbow, or problems with the coordination of finger movements.
The cause of CTS is pressure on the median nerve – that’s the main nerve in the wrist that supplies feeling to, and assists in the movement of, the “thumb” side of the hand, and your fingers. The pressure on the nerve from constant gripping by the hand, or repetitive movements, causes inflammation and thus swelling of that nerve.
Did you know that the same symptoms can be caused by other things? The Scalene muscles in the neck, a group of muscles that have a complex function, can get tight and put pressure on certain nerves that can also result in numb hands, tingling fingers and wrist pain. This is commonly known as False Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
It’s interesting that even though these are two very different causes of some of the same symptoms, the primary cause could be the same thing – too much pressure by the hand. CTS results from constant gripping or repetitive movement, putting pressure on a nerve or, if you are gripping something too hard you can feel the muscle tension move up your arm which can tighten neck muscles.
An easy treatment is to do what you can to prevent these symptoms in the first place. Start with being aware of how you are using your hand. If you find that you relentlessly clench the muscles of your arm and hand, Relax! The more often you use your hand in a relaxed state, the less painful symptoms you will have.
One very easy way to do this is to use a pen such as my ergonomically designed UGLee Pen – every time you write. Give your hand, and thus all of the involved nerves and muscles, a rest whenever you can. This pen will help keep your hand, arm and neck muscles relaxed whether you’re writing a grocery list or the great American novel.
Of course, if you are experiencing the symptoms we have discussed here, you’ll want to have a check up with your personal physician. Meanwhile give your hand a break and rest it – with my Comfort Pen.