How Occupational Choices Affect Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

carpal tunnel from your jobIt was once considered common knowledge that jobs involving repetitive motions of the hand and wrist could cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Today, however, experts know the relationship between your occupation and carpal tunnel syndrome is more complicated.

The exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown, but genetics are believed to play a key role. If you have a parent, grandparent, sibling, or another close blood relative with carpal tunnel syndrome, your risk of developing the condition increases. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also strongly associated with diabetes, with about 20% of people with diabetes expected to eventually develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

Although your occupation does not appear to be a primary risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome, certain jobs involving repetitive motion can make the condition more noticeable. Over time, this can lead to pain that negatively affects your quality of life.

Jobs That Can Lead to Increased Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms often include numbness or tingling in the fingers, hand weakness that makes it difficult to grasp small objects or perform other manual tasks, and trouble distinguishing between hot and cold temperatures by touch. For most people, symptoms begin in the dominant hand.

Some of the jobs that can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Manufacturing and industrial jobs. Assembly line workers, factory workers, warehouse workers, industrial equipment operators, welders, and packaging workers are prone to experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome due to the repetitive nature of their work.
  • Construction jobs. Repeated use of percussive or vibrating tools can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, HVAC technicians, and heavy equipment operators are just a few of the workers in the construction industry who may find that their job aggravates carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
  • Beauty industry jobs. Hairstylists, cosmetologists, and estheticians often use tools that can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. They are also overwhelmingly female, and women have been shown to have carpal syndrome more often than men due to anatomical differences in the size of the carpal tunnel.
  • Restaurant and food service jobs. Chefs, waiters, bartenders, dishwashers, and food processing or food preparation workers often work in fast-paced conditions where their hands and wrists are being strained in a way that can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
  • Computer-related jobs. Anyone who works in an office environment is likely to find that heavy computer usage aggravates the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. This includes individuals such as writers, computer programmers, graphic designers, accountants, lawyers, data entry workers, and receptionists.
  • Healthcare jobs. Dental hygienists, dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other healthcare professionals who frequently use their hands can find that their ability to work is compromised by carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Arts and entertainment jobs. Professional athletes, artists, or musicians often find that these activities can aggravate existing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

How to Get Relief from Carpal Tunnel

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, wrist splits and over-the-counter pain relievers may be all that is needed. However, if you are experiencing continued difficulty that is interfering with your ability to earn a living, you may need to consider surgical treatment.

Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release with the SX-One MicroKnife is an exciting new alternative to traditional endoscopic or open surgery. In this procedure, a doctor uses ultrasound to view critical anatomy in the wrist and hand, then creates space to transect the transverse carpal ligament (TCL) while protecting sensitive anatomic structures.

Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release is best-known for its short recovery time. Most patients can return to work or their regular activities within three to six days. Post-operative physical therapy is typically not necessary.

Contact Our Towson Office Today for Carpal Tunnel Relief!

Dr. Eric H. Williams provides ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release for patients in search of a way to quickly and effectively address their carpal tunnel pain so they can get back to the work they enjoy. Contact our Towson office to learn more.

Eric H. Williams MD
Specializing in reconstructive surgery and pain relief in the Greater Baltimore area.