Don't let carpal tunnel syndrome get out of hand
Ways to minimise pain and numbness include getting a more ergonomic desk and varying your sports
Mr Shin Lim, the winner of reality TV talent shows America's Got Talent Season 13 and America's Got Talent: The Champions, was initially on track to be a pianist.
However, the 25-year-old American-Canadian was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) five years ago, putting a startling halt to his musical pursuits.
Intensive, repetitive hand movements such as playing the piano may lead to wrist pain that might further develop into CTS. It is a common painful disorder affecting the hand and wrist.
Dr Jonathan Lee, a hand surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, told The New Paper: "The syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which travels through the wrist and base of the palm, gets squeezed or compressed under a band of tissue called a ligament.
What are the symptoms of CTS?
The condition causes pain at the wrist, which sometimes radiates up the forearm. Sufferers may also feel numbness or tingling in the palm of the hand, radiating to the fingers.
The numbness may be experienced differently, with some feeling a "burning" sensation, while others describe it as "pins and needles", according to Dr Lee.
During late-stage CTS, patients may develop weakness of the thumb and have difficulty grasping large objects (like a mug) or manipulating small items (like paper clips).
How does one allay the symptoms?
You should avoid or halt activities that aggravate the affected nerve, and rest the wrist to allow inflammation to recede.
Dr Lee said: "The activities that cause pain are usually repetitive ones that require gripping such as racquet sports, gym machines or golf, as well as repetitive finger movements such as typing - especially in awkward positions resulting from a cramped workspace or using a small keyboard."
Obtaining a short course of anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by a registered doctor may also be helpful. They are usually given together with a brace or splint that immobilises the wrist in a neutral position.
In late-stage chronic cases, carpal tunnel release surgery may be advised.
Who is more susceptible to CTS?
Common sufferers include construction and factory workers, typists or even pregnant women - as the latter undergo hormonal changes that cause fluid retention and swelling in the body.
Women are also generally more predisposed to getting CTS as their wrists are smaller.
The likelihood of having CTS increases with age, though young people can also suffer from it, usually from reasons such as heavy sports activities or repeated, tight gripping of pens and stationery during a heavy revision period.
How do you prevent CTS?
You can try to identify potentially aggravating activities or postures, and work on eliminating them. This may involve improving the ergonomics of your desk, computer or workstation.
You should also vary your workout, doing a different exercise each day, with time for rest and recovery in between.
Avoiding repetitive gripping and wrist flexion activities.
And it is important to identify CTS symptoms early and initiate treatment early.
Dr Lee advised: "Do not 'live with the symptoms' or 'get used to the numbness' and end up ignoring the signs. Patients have been known to ignore the signs until they develop weakness, and at that stage, it may not be entirely salvageable any more."