Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What you need to know
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects the wrist and hand, causing pain, numbness, and tingling. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist. We will break down the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available.
The exact cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is unknown, but several factors can contribute to its development. These include:
- Repetitive motions: Repeating the same hand and wrist movements over time can put pressure on the median nerve.
- Wrist anatomy: A small wrist or a misaligned wrist bone can compress the median nerve.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and hypothyroidism, can increase your risk of developing symptoms.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swelling in the wrists, which can compress the median nerve.
The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome usually develop gradually and can include:
- Pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand or wrist, especially in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger.
- Weakness in the hand or difficulty gripping objects.
- Pain that radiates from the wrist to the forearm and elbow.
- A burning sensation in the hand or wrist.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider. As a Chiropractor we can perform an examination to determine the cause of the symptoms. If it is inconclusive your Chirorpactor may refer you out for and diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study, to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome typically involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and medication. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
Rest: Rest is the most important part of the treatment plan. You should avoid any activities that cause pain or discomfort in the affected hand or wrist.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help relieve the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by strengthening the muscles of the hand and wrist and improving flexibility.
Medication: Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. In severe cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation in the affected area.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve. This is typically only recommended after conservative treatments have failed.
Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are several steps you can take to prevent the injuries, including:
- Take frequent breaks: If you perform repetitive tasks with your hands, take frequent breaks to stretch and rest your hands and wrists.
- Use ergonomic equipment: Use ergonomic equipment, such as a keyboard and mouse, that is designed to reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Improve your posture: Maintain good posture to reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve circulation and help strengthen your connective tissue.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be a painful and debilitating condition, but it is treatable with proper care and attention. If you are experiencing symptoms of CTS, it is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider. By taking preventive measures and making lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of developing symptoms and prevent pain in the first place.