Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By: lynter
1 out of a 100 people are found to be affected by the problem of carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in time. It is affecting people of all age groups and is found to be very common among women between 30 and 60 years.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is considered to be a work-related hazard. This problem can be reduced or eliminated by avoiding or reducing strenuous activities that would exert too much pressure on the fingers, hand, or wrist.

The carpal tunnel is a channel situated on the palm side of the wrist. Wrist bones are roughly formed in the form of a semicircle and the carpal ligament makes a roof over them. This passage which appears below this 'roof' is termed 'the carpal tunnel'. The tendons that control the wrist and fingers as well as the median nerve pass through this tunnel.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is actually the result of continuous wrist movement that exerts pressure on the nerves situated at the carpal tunnel. Knitting, playing games like tennis, squash, and typing would also aggravate this disease. It may affect either or both of the hands depending on the type of activity. For example, a typist may be affected in both hands, but someone using mainly one hand will find it affecting only that hand.

Common symptoms of this sickness involve numbness, deadness, tingling in the fingers, a feeble grip, some burning sensation in the wrist or hand, and very uncomfortable pain. In acute cases, these symptoms may even reach the elbow and upper arm.

Soreness in the hand or wrist is the first recognizable symptom of this disease. There may be pain in the wrist and hand while doing activities. Also there will be extreme pain in the hand, wrist and fingers during night hours or in the early morning. This happens because many people actually bend their wrists during sleep.

The symptoms and pain may disappear by simply flexing the wrists in the beginning, but special and complex exercises will be needed when the problem becomes severe.

The initial stages of treatment generally involve giving complete rest to the affected hand and wrist for about 2 weeks. Abstaining from activities that could increase the symptoms and keeping the wrist in a restful position eg in a splint to avoid extra injury from distortion or twisting would help the patient to get some relief.

Exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome are specifically intended to relieve the stress in the carpal tunnel. These exercises are supposed to be carried out all through the day, at required intervals even if the symptoms are not evident.

The majority of cases can be cured with the above simple exercises; however acute cases would require extensive treatment.

There are other healing techniques and methods that can give relief to the carpal tunnel syndrome. Anti-inflammatory pills or ice packs can bring temporary relief but they will not help to cure the disease.

If these do-it-yourself treatments do not work out it is always good to see a doctor. If ice packs and anti-inflammatory drugs do not relieve the pain then the symptoms have reached a stage that requires medical attention and consulting a doctor is necessary.

There are acute cases where surgery becomes essential, even though this happens only to a small minority of patients. Modern surgical methods and treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome should only take a few hours. Scientists are researching for some alternative therapies, like Aura-soma or acupuncture to ward off this problem of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Summary:

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of repetitive wrist movement, which exerts strain on the wrist and nerves in the carpal tunnel. Common symptoms of the syndrome are deadness, tingling in the fingers, weakened grip, and burning sensation or pain in the hand or wrist. 1 out of a 100 people are found to be affected by carpal tunnel disease at some point of time. Large number of cases can be cured with exercises, but acute cases require comprehensive treatment.
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