What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a tingling sensation, weakness and numbness felt in your wrist because of the pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve is where several tendons run from the forearm to the hand through this small space in your wrist which we all know as the carpal tunnel. Movement and feeling in the thumb and the first 3 fingers is controlled by the median nerve. This means that the little finger is excluded.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the pressure on the median nerve. The pressure can be caused by swelling which makes the tunnel smaller. When the tunnel becomes smaller, logically speaking the passageway is hindered, which is why numbness is one of the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes of Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
Since Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a problem with the nerves such illnesses like hypothyroidism, RA and diabetes are common causes of the syndrome. It can also be caused by making the same hand movements again and again.
Who is Prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many people assume computer related work cause CTS but the truth is a there are hundreds of professionals who use their hands intensely.
Certain professions like machine operators, dentists, professions which involve a lot of typing on the computer keyboard like data entry professionals, computer programmers, seo professionals, network engineers, internet marketing professionals. Athletes like tennis players, gymnasts, bikers, golfers and skiers are also not exempt from getting carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are a video game addict, console gamer or hand held video game addicts you can have carpal tunnel syndrome soon. Musicians can also have CTS especially guitarists, pianists, cellists, violinists, sax players and drummers. Gardeners, landscape professionals, lumber jacks, hairstylists, barbers, hairdressers, tattoo artists, hair removal specialists, chefs, waiters and waitresses. Doctors especially surgeons will most likely get this condition. The list goes on and on! If your profession is not listed here it does not mean that you are exempt from getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Symptoms of CTS
If you have the following symptoms you might have carpal tunnel syndrome. It can cause a tingling sensation, numbness or weakness in the fingers and hand. And of course pain felt in the wrist, hand or even the arm. Symptoms often occur in the index finger, middle finger, thumb and half of the ring finger. In short, if all your fingers have pain, discomfort or numbness except for the little finger, then you might have CTS. Why is the middle finger exempt? There is a different nerve that gives sensation to the little finger.
Most symptoms are noticed at night after a hard day’s work. Immediate relief can be done by shaking your hand.
A Trip to the Doctor
If you experience this kind of symptom related to Carpal tunnel syndrome, make sure to have it checked by a physician. Your doctor will have to check on your health background if you have RA, diabetes or hypothyroidism or if you are pregnant. Your regular hand movement will be checked by your doctor as well as to how you hurt your hand. The doctor will check your daily routine and activities that might have caused your wrists to hurt. The physician might check for feeling and strength of your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders. Certain blood tests can also be suggested by the doctor.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms can be treated immediately if they are just mild symptoms. What you need to do is to stop the activity that causes the pain or numbness. Rest for longer periods of time when using your hand. Ice your wrist for about 15 minutes once or twice an hour. If the pain is unbearable, you might want to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling. And at night wear a wrist splint.
Here are some immediate things you need to when you feel the symptoms acting up on you:
- Keep wrists in a neutral position
- Hold objects with your hand and not just your wrist.
- When typing, keep wrists straight and hands higher than your wrists. Relax shoulders while typing.
- Switch hands if you do repetitive hand movements.
The problem is that when your profession is affected by CTS then you might want to consider changing careers, or should you? As a surgeon, would you just give up your profession because of the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome? Should a surgery then be the next option?
Wearing Wrist Gloves
If you cannot do away with stopping the use of your hands or if your carpal tunnel syndrome pain is felt during your work hours, you might want to consider wearing compression gloves. CopperJoint compression gloves are not restrictive as wrist splints and allow more movement to the hands but provide ample amount of compression to help with the blood flow on the compressed area. Wrists gloves can help reduce inflammation, pain and numbness together with proper rest so that you can go back to your usual work in no time.
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