Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition in the United States. It occurs when the median nerve is comprised of bones, tendons, or ligaments that surround the narrow passageway for the nerve. The anatomy of the wrist is naturally prone to problems. Now add repetitive motion and overuse; it explains the prevalence of the condition. While carpal tunnel syndrome is not life-threatening, it can be uncomfortable for the person affected, and thus, impact their quality of life.
The main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling to numbness in the fingers or hand. These feelings may stay in the fingers, or travel up the arm. In addition to this tingling sensation, patients may experience weakness in the hand or fingers. These feelings may start out as intermittent, but they can be permanent if left untreated over time. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repeated pressure on the median nerve or some kind of injury to the wrist. The median nerve lays on the palm side of your arm, which is why repetitive motion is often the cause of the condition.
There are a variety of different risk factors for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. It tends to be more common in women, is more common in people who have diabetes or inflammatory conditions, is more common in people who are obese, and in people who have jobs that require a lot of repetitive motion of the wrist. While some people are more likely than others to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, there are precautions that can be taken to lessen the likelihood. This includes using a loose grip, taking shorter but more frequent breaks, improving your posture, and keeping your hands warm. While these steps are not guaranteed to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, they can help in making its development less likely.
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there are certain treatments that can help with the pain. Icing your wrists can help reduce swelling and thus reduce pain. Bracing is one of the most effective ways to treat carpal tunnel and can help an affected person avoid surgery. Wrist splinting and bracing hold your wrist in place, even when you sleep, to lessen the likelihood of your wrist ending up in a compromising position. Many people like this treatment because it avoids the use of medication and avoids the need for surgery in most cases.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition that affects many people in the United States. While it is not life-threatening, it can greatly diminish a person’s quality of life. The pain that is associated with carpal tunnel syndrome can range from mild tingling to shooting pain. In certain cases, rest and ice can greatly help to reduce pain. However, other cases may need more extreme measures. Using a brace to keep your wrist straight is one of the best treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome without using medication or resorting to surgery. Regardless, scheduling a consultation visit with a physician is necessary if you think you may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome.