Carpal tunnel symptoms typically come on slowly. Day after day, we are able to type at the computer with no problem and then one morning a little tingling in the fingers develops. We shake our hands, stretch the fingers, and try to go back to the keyboard. Inevitably, the tingling continues and seems to worsen as we try to do our work.
Why does this occur? Why are we fine one day, and the next we have disabling pain that interferes with our ability to work? This can be very distressing psychologically and many patients with carpal tunnel symptoms show signs of depression.
So, what was the event that triggered the problem? A chiropractic or medical doctor may ask about a trauma to the wrist bones but most patients will not say they suffered an accidental injury. Often times, both hands seem to be affected and trauma is usually seen when landing on one wrist, with symptoms following within minutes or days of the event.
But carpal tunnel is much different. The symptoms come on slowly and out of nowhere. Typing is fine one day, and the next we cannot complete our work at the keyboard.
Carpal tunnel symptoms come from the nerves that pass through the wrist. Those nerves begin in the neck, cross the shoulder and go down the arm before entering the carpal tunnel that is formed by the bones in the wrist.
Typing is not a traumatic motion for the fingers and the hand. One has to look at other potential areas where the nerves travel. These areas can become traumatized from accidents. The neck is especially vulnerable to trauma from car accidents and sports injuries. The delicate ligaments and discs of the neck can be injured when the head is whipped around from trauma.
Unfortunately, when we type, the neck is usually in a forward bent position, especially if the typist has to look at the keyboard while working. If the computer user is in this position for many hours during the day, the nerves can eventually become stretched, producing pain, tingling and numbness. If those same nerves were traumatized from a whiplash injury, forward head position alone can be enough to bring on symptoms. This is why it is important that a doctor looks at more than just the wrist areas when examining the patient.