Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Are you one of those people who hammer away at their desk the whole day, are inseparable from your laptop or are pretty much tech savvy? Well, my dear friend, keep your ears open…. The warning bells may sound anytime for you.
If “YES” then you need to pay great attention to what’s written here. If “NO”, you still need to pay attention to this. The dull, tingling numbing pain, otherwise known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is gearing up to visit you. If not taken care of immediately, it will be here to stay.
WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition of the Hands and Fingers caused by compression of the median nerve in the passage through which it crosses the wrist to enter the hand. This results in sensory and motor loss in the hand.
HOW TO IDENTIFY CTS
A person suffering from CTS experiences:
Numbness: this numbness is different from the ones generally experienced as it is localized to the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger
Tingling: the patient has a pins-and-needles” sensation, burning sensation or pain. The feeling is similar to the hand “falling asleep.”
Pain in the wrist and hand: Occasional aching pain in your forearm between the elbow and wrist.
Loss of manual dexterity: With moderate or severe carpal tunnel symptoms, there may be reduced strength and grip in your fingers, thumb, or hand. It may be hard to:
- Do simple hand movements, such as brushing the hair or holding a fork. One may accidentally drop objects.
- Pinch an object between the thumb and first finger. (This is called loss of pinch strength.)
Weakness and atrophy of the thumb muscles may occur if the condition remains untreated
WHAT CAUSES CTS?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a combination of health conditions and activities puts pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist.
A no. of conditions puts a person at increased risk of developing CTS:
- Conditions which contribute to swelling in the joints or cause reduction in blood flow such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Diabetes and Hypothyroidism
- Forceful, repeated movements of the wrists; hand arm vibration and awkward wrist position
- Broken or Dislocated wrist bones
The most important thing to know after CTS is diagnosed is that treatment should be done as soon as possible.
Mild cases of CTS get better without any permanent damage to the Median Nerve. Most of the time mild CTS is cured when the activity or condition causing it is improved. However, leaving it untreated for a long time can result in permanent nerve damage and loss of motor function.
Apart from following the doctor’s prescription and advice, there are a no. of steps that an individual can take to soothe and assist healing
- Rest your fingers, hand, and wrist. Stop activities that you think may be causing numbness and pain. When your symptoms improve, resume the activity gradually.
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, once or twice an hour.
- Wear a wrist splint at night to keep your wrist in a neutral position and relieve pressure on your median nerve.
- When your pain is gone, begin exercises for flexibility and strength for your arm and wrist.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
As the old Adage goes, it is better to take care of ourselves and not give this unwanted guest an opportunity to visit rather than suffering in its presence. A few simple steps can help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Take good care of your general health
- Keep your arm, hand, and finger muscles strong and flexible.
- Stop any activity that you think may be causing finger, hand, or wrist numbness or pain.
- Use hand and wrist movements that spread the pressure and motion evenly throughout your hand and wrist. Keep your wrists straight or only slightly bent. Avoid activities that bend or twist the wrists for long periods of time.
- Switch hands and change positions often when you are doing repeated motions. Take breaks, and rest your hands.
- Use correct posture.
- Restrict your salt intake if you tend to retain fluid.
- Wear a wrist splint when you cannot control your wrist motion, such as while sleeping
To conclude, in the present day of e-life it is inevitable to do away with computers which is the basic cause of CTS. But if you use computers judiciously and follow a healthy life style with required precaution, carpal tunnel syndrome is like any other pain, which you will be able to do away with.