Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome

Pain and tingling in your hands could be carpal tunnel syndrome.

It occurs when a large nerve in the palm of your hand becomes compressed. Though doctors aren’t sure why, women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Early diagnosis and treatment can relieve the pain and numbness and usually prevent permanent damage.

Protecting your hands may help ease symptoms and avoid further injury. The May issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource offers these precautions:

Ease up: Most people use more force than necessary to perform many tasks involving the hands. Type lightly. Use a big pen with free-flowing ink for prolonged handwriting. That way you won’t have to grip as tightly or press hard.

Take frequent breaks: Every 15 or 20 minutes, give your hands a break by stretching or moving them. If you use equipment that vibrates or requires force, taking breaks is even more important.

Watch your form: Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down.

Improve your posture: Incorrect posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward, shortening your neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands. http://www.mayo.edu

Keep your hands warm: You’re more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if your fingers are cold. If you can’t control the temperature, try wearing fingerless gloves.

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