Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve of the wrist becomes compressed. Median nerve is a nerve in the wrist that gives sensation to the palm side of your thumb and finger and assists in hand movements. The narrow pathway surrounded by bones and ligaments in your wrists where the median nerve enters your hand is known as the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes tingling sensation, numbness, weakness or muscle damage to hands and fingers.
- Wrist fracture
- Swelling and inflammation affecting the median nerve
- Certain medications
- Thyroid disorders
- Menopause in women
- Frequent use of vibrating tools in workplace
- Frequent and prolonged wrist motions, mostly at workplace
- Numbness in fingers or hands
- Tingling sensation or pain in fingers
- Shock-like sensation in fingers
- Decreased sense of feeling in fingers or fingertips
- Difficulty in performing activities like holding a book, writing, grasping an object
- Weakness in hand
- Dropping objects
Diagnostic measures for carpal tunnel syndrome includes:
- Physical examination
- Assessing signs and symptoms
- X-rays, MRI and other imaging procedures
- Nerve conduction studies
There are no proven preventive measures for carpal tunnel syndrome. Further progression of the condition can be avoided by minimizing stress on hands and wrists:
- Reduce force exerted on and by the hands
- Reduce duration of prolonged and repetitive tasks
- Take short and frequent breaks
- Improve posture
- Keep your hands warm
- Avoid bending of wrists frequently. Keep it in a relaxed position whenever possible
- For people who use computers frequently, make sure to maintain good posture and use mouse and keyboards in a comfortable way that do not strain your hands and wrists.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of the condition. It includes:
- Medications to reduce swelling or anti inflammatory drugs.
- Wrist splinting: your doctor may suggest wearing a splint in order to keep your wrists from moving and reduce pressure on the nerves.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Lifestyle changes such as reducing continuous and prolonged wrist movements if it is the cause.
- Surgery may be recommended in cases where the condition is severe or do not respond to other treatment measures.
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