Carpal tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition that afflicts the hands and fingers. I have discussed this syndrome in a previous blog post and today I would like to examine it in greater detail!
Symptons of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When a person develops carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as CTS, they are likely to develop numbness in the hands and fingers as well as localized pain and tingling. The symptoms can sometimes extend into the arm as well, which of course increases discomfort amongst sufferers.
Many people who experience carpal tunnel syndrome speak of how the symptoms will develop slowly during the day and become worse during the night. This can then often mean that a persons sleep is disturbed which can quickly lead to additional health complaints.
Causes And Risk Factors
This condition is caused when one or more of the nerves that control sensation in the hand is compressed. The reason for this occurring is generally unknown, however, there are certain risk factors.
If you have a family history of CTS, if you are pregnant, if you have suffered an injury to the wrist or if you have arthritis, then you are at a heightened risk of developing the condition. Also, if you regularly undertake strenuous activities with your hands then you are also putting yourself at an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is worth noting that when CTS develops during pregnancy, the symptoms can often subside a few months after the child has been born.
In some instances the condition may go away without any surgical intervention, however, this must be judged on a case by case basis. It is also possible to reduce the severity of symptoms by trying to rest as much as possible, losing any excess weight and also by regularly having the area massaged. These self-care activities may not yield positive results for everyone but certain studies have shown positive results.
Surgery is usually only undertaken when non-surgical treatments have failed to provide any relief. These options will include splinting the wrist as well as injecting cortisone. If there is a risk of permanent damage to the nerves then surgery will also be considered in order to limit this danger. Within a few weeks of surgery the majority of patients will be able to return to work.
If you believe you are suffering from this condition then be sure to seek medical advice immediately. There are several other conditions that present similar symptoms to CTS so it is important to get a correct diagnosis as soon as possible. You will then be able to take the relevant precautionary measures and consider your treatment options.
There is no one definitive way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from presenting. However, there are certain things you can do to help protect your body against it.
First of all, redcucing the amount of stress that you put on your hands and wrists is a good idea. If you are experiencing this problem then it is likely that you use your hands quite often — possibly because of your job. This can be a hard thing to reduce, but it is important if you are to maintain the health of your hands and wrists.
Try to be gentler with your actions throughout the day, and use a softer touch as much as is possible.This can be quite an interesting thing to challenge yourself to do, and you will perhaps find that you often use uneccessary force.
Also, be sure to take regular breaks if you are using your hands and wrists for prolonger periods of time. For example, try to rest your hands for ten minutes every hour that you are doing something. This is especially important if the activity you are doing is very repetitive or intense in nature.
Making the extra effort to stretch your arms and flex your wrists throughout the day could also help to protect against the onset of this condition.