For some time now, you have been experiencing that tingling and numbing feeling around your hand and wrist while working on your desk. You ignore it as usual until suddenly you feel a sharp shooting pain traveling up your arm through the wrist. What is that? You may think it is just a kind of cramp, but little do you know that it could also be a sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Here we have gathered common questions about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and what we can do to relieve the symptoms.
- What do I need to know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
First, let’s try to understand how the anatomy of your hand works. The narrow passageway of bones and ligament at the base of your hand is called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel consists of tendons and the median nerve which helps bend your fingers. It is also at the median nerve that helps provide sensations to the palms and control small muscles at your thumb’s base.
However, when a thickening of the lining of the tendons occur through irritation and swelling, the tunnel gradually narrows and causes the nerves to be pinched and compressed. The pain from the pressure on the nerve as a result is what you’re experiencing as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- What are the causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The pressure on the median nerve causes the numb and tingly painful sensation on your arm to your wrist. This is because the carpal tunnel gets squeezed and irritated leading to the condition. For a lot of cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does not have a single cause but occurs due to the combination of different risk factors resulting the condition.
- What are the risk factors involving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
There are certain factors involved that contributes to the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Although these factor may not have caused the condition directly, they may still increase the risk of damaging the median nerve from the pressure on it. Here are five factors which include:
– Gender Roles
Statistics show that women are generally more prone to developing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than men. The reason for this is because women are built with smaller hands and wrist, therefore the space between the carpal tunnel is smaller.
People who exceed the ideal weight are not only at risk for many other health problems but are also at risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is because of the excess fat that also causes the lining of the carpal tunnel to thicken and putting pressure to the median nerve.
– Hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis
These type of conditions also increases the risk of developing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is because conditions increases the chance of nerve damage which would ultimately affect the carpal tunnel as well.
– Workplace or job environment
There isn’t a lot of concrete, scientific evidence that shows the association between work and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, there has been theories showing the possibility of slowly damaging the median nerve when working at extended periods with vibrating tools especially at the assembly line when the wrists get flexed repeatedly. Other studies have also associated that extensive use of the computer can possibly cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
This chronic illness can have nerve-damaging effects not just to the extremities but the entire body as well. As a result, the possibility of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is also possible when you have diabetes.
- What are the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If you feel you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you should be able to experience the following symptoms:
– A numb, tingling and uncomfortable sensation that is felt around your palms, thumb, middle finger and index finger.
– You will also might feel as though your fingers is not responsive or “fallen asleep” and a numbing feeling usually at night.
– When you wake in the mornings, you feel the same numbing and tingly feeling running up to your shoulders.
When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is left untreated for a long time, the effects usually becomes severe and you may feel the following:
– The pain and cramps become more prominent or worse
– Your grip strength reduces and you will start losing feeling in the fingers
– You start to lose sensation and will be unable to flex your fingers
It is recommended that you see a doctor and have yourself checked if you feel you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as early as possible.
- Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome be treated or cured?
In many cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome doesn’t usually last long. There isn’t any preventive measures once you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, there are treatments to help ease the pain without the use of surgery.
– By taking anti-inflammatory drugs
By taking prescribed medications that includes naproxen and ibuprofen, they can help in relieving the symptoms as well as reducing pain.
– Hand exercises
When pressure is applied constantly to the hands and wrist, like using the computer keyboard or handling tools that flexes your hand repeatedly, doing hand exercises for a few minutes can help relieve the symptoms
– Using a splint or brace
When you feel the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, using a brace or splint is recommended and best worn at night when you are sleeping. This prevents your wrist from bending while you are sleeping since keeping it in a neutral position will minimize the pressure nerves. If your symptoms also surfaces during the day, using the brace can help in easing the pressure.
– Yoga or alternative treatment
It has been shown that doing yoga regularly help minimize pain as well as improve the strength of your grip especially for people suffering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Other treatment that has been reported to provide relief from CTS includes chiropractor and acupuncture.
– Improving posture and monitoring your form
It is important to be aware of our form and posture. If we continue to slump and bend our wrist all the way repeatedly will increase the chances of pressure on the nerves which will cause CTS as a result.
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