Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Our hands are one of the most important parts of our body. Just think about how much you are dependent on it for almost all the activities of the day. So, naturally, when it is negatively affected, it can wreak havoc and have a snowball effect.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that does exactly that to your body. Also known as median nerve compression, this syndrome weakens your hand and causes numbness and a tingling sensation in your hand.

    When someone is affected by this syndrome, their median nerve, one of the most integral nerves in a human hand, gets compressed or squeezed as it moves through the wrist. The tissues around your flexor tendons, known as synovium, swell up, narrowing the tunnel, which ultimately puts a lot of pressure on your median nerve.

    Synovium plays a vital role in lubricating your tendons, which helps you easily and flexibly move your fingers on command. However, if they swell up, they can take up additional space in the carpal tunnel. Eventually, your nerve gets crowded. The pressure that is generated leads to the overall weakness in your hand.

    Possible Causes

    A mixture of the following factors causes carpal tunnel syndrome:

    • Repetitive hand motions can trigger the tendons in your wrist in a negative way, leading up to swelling.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Thyroid gland imbalance
    • Diabetes
    • Hormonal changes
    • Extreme extension or flexion of wrists and hands for a long time period.
    • Heredity since the carpal tunnel is a bit smaller in some people, or there may be other anatomic differences that alter the amount of space in the nerve. These aspects run in some families.

    Various researches have indicated that older people and women, in general, are most vulnerable to get affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Risk Factors

    People who have repetitive finger use are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Motions and jobs that can place people at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome are:

    • Prolonged use of mouse
    • High-force (hammering).
    • Extreme wrist motions
    • Long-term use of keyboards
    • Vibration

    Signs and Symptoms

    Some of the most prominent symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are as follows:

    • Burning or tingling sensations in your thumb, middle, ring, and index fingers.
    • Numbness in the hands.
    • Clumsiness makes it difficult for you to perform fine finger movements such as writing or buttoning a shirt.
    • Shock-like sensations radiate in your fingers.
    • Unable to hold things for long periods leading you to drop them due to weakness or loss of proprioception.

    In some cases, the symptoms may recede and come back. But, with the passage of time, the symptoms occur at a more frequent rate than before. In addition, the symptoms are more likely to appear at night time.

    Diagnosis

    The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is based on its symptoms and pain and hand numbness distribution. The doctors begin the diagnosis by visual examination. For further clarification, the doctor may recommend some tests such as:

    • Nerve conduction velocity test (NCV)
    • Electromyogram (EMG) to exclude or detect conditions that mimic carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Treatment Options at 7DMC

    The most dangerous aspect of carpal tunnel syndrome is that it gets worse with time. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for your future sustenance.

    The expert panel of doctors at 7DMC will help you guide in figuring out the condition of your median nerve by running various x-ray, MRI, electrophysiological, and/or ultrasound tests. Both surgical and non-surgical treatments exist today to treat this condition.

    Non-surgical treatments include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), splinting or bracing, nerve gliding exercises, activity changes, and steroid injections.

    The longer you wait, the more risk you put yourself through. Suppose you seek treatment at the early stages. In that case, it ensures the progression of the disease is slowed down or completely stopped. Therefore, we highly recommend you book an appointment with 7DMC, speak with an expert regarding your condition and go through the diagnosis.

    FAQs

    Frequently asked questions

    Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a temporary condition for many, but for some, it may progress. The initial symptoms of the condition include a tingling sensation or slight pain, which increases as the disease progresses. Other symptoms that indicate the progression of CTS are decreased grip and hand strength, tingling and burning sensation, cramping, weakness, along shooting pains in the forearm. A chronic condition can lead to wasting (atrophy) of the hand muscles, especially the palm muscles and those near the base of the thumb.

    No, while surgery is recommended for severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases can be handled at home. When you seek treatment at the early stages and follow a doctor-advised home care plan, you can lead a pain-free life.

    Home care for carpal tunnel syndrome is simple and often enough to provide relief for mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients can find relief by wearing a wrist splint, which is easily available in all drugstores. The splint keeps the hand in a neutral position and provides relief from the symptoms. Doctors recommend the splint to be worn for a particular duration, depending on your symptoms.