I became acutely aware of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when my mom was unable to open and close her hand after years of working as a hairdresser. I thought this sort of thing happened to “older” people that were ready to retires. Then I started hearing from my friend Liz in digital marketing, Pam a past intern, and now even a Kardashian, that carpal tunnel is wreaking havoc on young people too.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects 8 million people in the US and with our increased usage of technology it looks like it may affect even more people and celebrities are no exception. Brooke Shields had surgery on both hands in 2015. Jessica Alba thought she was having a stroke in the middle of the night when her hand and arm went numb, but an MRI confirmed that she too had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In lasts, night’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, turns out that even Kim is being affected by CTS.
Her CTS may have started due to taking too many “selfies”, but texting, and carrying young children may also be contributing. Any movement, even as small as scrolling on your phone, done excessively could leave your hand numb, tingling, feeling a current and unable to use your hands. But let’s not let it get to that.
What is “Kim Kardashian Wrist”?
The real term is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and it happens when the median nerve that runs from your forearm to the palm of your hand becomes strangled in the carpal tunnel. This leads to tingling, numbness, and pain in your thumb, index, middle, and some of your ring finger. (If your pinky is going numb this can be a different condition called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome).
Let’s find out what are some of the risk factors and what you can do about it to Keep Up with anything!
Are you at risk?
· You are a woman – Women are 3 times more likely suffer from CTS than men. This could be due to hormones. It is very important to be especially vigilant to signs of pain in your hands especially while working. Taking frequent breaks to stretch your arms and hands.
· You work at a job where use your hands in the same way over and over – Most of us are familiar with the soreness of doing a tough workout for a few minutes maybe an hour, but image if you had to that 8 plus hours a day with just one set of muscles. This is what happens with workers that type, pinch, and grip excessively such as assembly line workers, office workers, hairdressers, gamers, and social media pros. Your tendons and ligaments are taken past the breaking point.
· You are 30 – People start reporting CTS pain starting around 30, although it can also affect children. With so much technology around our disposal and the number of hours spent on it, younger and younger people are at risk of CTS. Don’t wait until you are older to start taking care of your hands thinking this is something that affects only “old” people.
What can you do about it?
1. Stretch your hands throughout the work day, not just when they start to hurt, but at frequent intervals.
2. Stay hydrated and avoid food high in sodium to reduce inflammation from the food you eat. You can also snack on cherries and drink juices with ginger that are natural anti-inflammatories.
3. Meditate to reduce stress and tension in the entire body including your hands and forearms. This will increase your blow flood and again reduce inflammation. You may also feel better wearing a compression glove.
4. Make sure you are not putting your hands in funky positions and that you have the right tools for your job. Such as an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, a lightweight blow dryer, a proper set of scissors, a better selfie stick. Whatever it is, find a way not to keep your wrists straight.
5. Gently massage your hands and forearms with your own hands or with the help of a finger/hand acupressure massager and the anti-inflammatory cream from Workvie (website or Amazon). This feels so good that you will want to use it all day!
“Selfie Wrist” or “Kim Kardashian Wrist” sounds funny, but CTS can be a difficult medical condition to live with if ignored. Don’t wait until it gets worse to get start taking preventive measures.
Annabel Mendez is the founder of Workvie, a work wellness product line dedicated to helping hardworking professionals work without pain. She is an engineer that set out to help her mom that lived with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome after years of working as a hairdresser.