LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It used to be that factory workers or people who did the same motion over and over again with their hands, like typing at a computer all day, were the ones who had to worry about problems with their hands.
Now, there's an increase in the number of younger people who spend a lot of time texting and playing video games, who are experiencing Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
Typing, Texting, repetitive motion. You don't think about it at the time, but when your hand starts to tingle and you eventually feel pain don't ignore it. Occupational Therapist Margaret Standridge says it could be Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
"So it'll be tingling and if they ignore it and continue to just try and deal with it then it can just become painful or there may be shooting pains that go down to the tips of the fingers. If they ignore it a long period of time, sometimes they will have weakness in their pinch or their grip and they'll find themselves dropping things."
That's how Patricia Ellege's symptoms started. "I mean, drying my hair drop the hair dryer. Pick up the curling iron, drop the curling iron." Ellege is an art teacher so she has to use her hands a lot. When she was first diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel they made splints to hold her wrists in a neutral position at night while she slept. That didn't work so they tried several other approaches and it finally came down to surgery and therapy. She can now use both her hands without any problems.
There are now other repetitive motions that can cause or send Carpel Tunnel over the edge. Motions related to technology, like texting. It seems as if every teen these days has a phone in their hands, constantly texting. So could Carpel Tunnel start to be a problem for younger people? Standridge says without a doubt. "People younger than twenty aren't usually bothered by tendonitis, things like that, but they are now. We're finding that a lot more in teenagers. Sometimes they'll have thumb pain or tendonitis, but if their wrists are flexed while they're doing all this texting it can certainly add to the Carpel Tunnel and possibly even cause it."
Standridge's advice to anyone who has to type for an extended period of time, is to take short breaks. She also says sometimes it's not so much the amount of typing, but the position of the wrist while doing so. And remember the advice your mom gave you about good posture. Not slouching at your desk, shoulders back, sitting up straight can also go a long way towards preventing Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.