Text messages may seem harmless enough, with flurries of "Yo's," "Sups?" and "I heart you's." Send 100 text messages a day - which the average teenager does - and you could end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, and an appointment with a surgeon's knife. Like 16-year-old Chicago native Annie Levitz, who was sending an average of 4,000 texts a month - or 13 texts for every hour she wasn't asleep or in school. She began experiencing shooting pains and numbness in her hands, and started dropping things, like coffee cups. She now wears braces on both wrists, has cut way back on texting, and faces surgery when she can fit it into her schedule.So, what causes carpal tunnel syndrome? According to ABC News, the carpal tunnel is a narrow channel in your wrist that contains the nerves, tendons and blood vessels for your hand. The syndrome occurs when the tendons become inflamed from typing, texting or other repetitive motions, and compress the nerves, which can lead to burning, itching, pain and weakness. It can also cause permanent nerve damage and arthritis, and raises the risk of thumb-joint replacements as the current generation of texting teens gets older. So, how can you protect yourself from carpal tunnel syndrome? First, send fewer texts. In other words, you might want to stop texting your BFF across the classroom just to say, "Cute shoes." Save your fingers for more important messages, like "I'm waiting on the corner, Mom. Where are you?" Also, don't type all your texts with your thumbs. Change up the fingers you use to type, to spread the stress around.* One final way to protect yourself from carpal tunnel syndrome: Keep your wrists straight when you type, so it doesn't put unnecessary strain on the tendons in your wrists. If your hands are hurting, itching, burning or numb - or you keep dropping things - talk to your doctor. It's important to get carpal tunnel syndrome taken care of as soon as possible.