Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to a condition in which the person experiences tingling, numbness, and various other symptoms in the hand and arm. More specifically, this condition is caused when the median nerve in the carpal tunnel is compressed. For most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome worsens over time and might even make it difficult to grip objects. In this article, we take a look at the causes of Carpal tunnel syndrome, its symptoms, and possible treatment options.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome start off gradually and include numbing, tightening, and tingling sensations in the index finger, middle fingers, and thumb. These sensations come and go and cause varying levels of discomfort in the wrists and palms.
Usually, the thumb, index, ring, and middle fingers are affected but not the little finger. The sensations feel like electric shocks traveling up from the fingers to the arm and usually occur when holding a phone, newspaper or a steering wheel. It can also wake people up from their sleep and many try to shake their hands to get rid of the numbness.
Those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome have also experienced weakness in the hands and arms and an increased tendency to drop objects. This may be due to decreased grip strength and decreased sensation in the hand and fingers. It is recommended to seek medical attention when the condition makes it difficult to carry out routine activities.
As stated earlier, carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of increased and/or constant pressure on the median nerve that runs from the forearm to the wrists via a passageway (known as the carpal tunnel). The median nerve helps provide motor and sensory innervation to the thumb and fingers in the hand (mainly thumb and digits 2 and 3).
Anything that irritates or compresses the median nerve can result in carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive strain injuries and poor work ergonomics are some of the more common causes CTS.
Possible Treatment and Prevention
Earlier detection of carpal tunnel syndrome can prevent the need for surgery. Some common treatment and prevention options include:
- Reducing pressure on the nerve by changing the patterns of hand use
- Wearing wrist splints at night that prevent sleep-disturbing symptoms
- Keeping the wrists straight and avoiding bending them too much
- Use of steroid injections to reduce swelling
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