What would you do if you suddenly woke up one morning unable to use your hands? How would you feel if you had to start all over again learning how to do all your favorite activities with the most useful limbs on your body? What would you do for a living?
Well if you find these questions perplexing then you haven’t been introduced to one of the most common causes of absence from work. You don’t fall under the 9% of women aged 25-74 who experience this, and you are not one of the 50% of women in the workforce at risk to developing this disabling medical condition. Yes ladies, I am talking about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Although most women have heard the name thrown around, many are not aware of how common it really is, and what disabling facts this condition really carries.
First, lets start with what Carpal Tunnel is. In basic English, it is commonly explained as a repetitive strain injury to the median nerve in your wrist. Risk factors for this include, activities that require repetitive motion or prolonged activity, smoking, pregnancy, pre-existing health conditions such as obesity and diabetes, and of course -- being a woman.
And to add insult to injury being a woman, now more than ever before, we are showing symptoms earlier and earlier. In my opinion, typing, texting and facebooking have been leading to more cases of Carpal Tunnel in the younger generations because they are using their hands in repetitive motion significantly compared to previous generations. I am only 26 and I believe that because of the amount of time I spend text messaging, typing wall posts on my friends facebook page and emailing on my tiny blackberry keyboard, I am experiencing symptoms, but didn’t realize till I started the research on the topic. True story, I am actually getting Carpal Tunnel symptoms as I type up this story.
Just like me, you may be experiencing symptoms and not even be aware of it. Do you get numbness or tingling in your fingers, pain and aching through fingers and wrist, cramping in your thumb, weakness in your hands and wrist, clumsy with your coordination, or difficulty picking up small objects? If so, these are all key symptoms that you could be developing a case of Carpal Tunnel. Unfortunately, most people shake it off (literally) and continue on with their day as if nothing was the matter. Well that is wrong, and you are lessening your productivity and efficiency by thinking this way. These symptoms are effecting my work flow and I would have brushed like most women. And because the majority brush it off, Carpal Tunnel gets worse, leading to the possibility of not being able to do your job, text message your friends, or navigate through facebook anymore.
To see exactly what staggering effect Carpal Tunnel is having on women in the workforce come back Wednesday. I will also share some ways to avoid getting cramped up at work to extend your productivity.