What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is when the median nerve in the wrist becomes irritated or inflamed. This nerve is connected to the wrist within what is known as the carpal tunnel. When the nerve becomes irritated, hand strength may diminish. As carpal tunnel syndrome worsens, you may feel tingling or burning sensations, or even shooting pains. This discomfort and pain can greatly disrupt your daily routines.
What are the causes?
There is no one singular cause of the syndrome, nor is there a scientific consensus. According to WebMD, carpal tunnel may be brought on by repetitive movements, such as typing. Any time the wrist is used to perform a motion over and over, the strain may cause the median nerve to become inflamed. Many people think of office workers when they hear of the ailment. However, assembly line workers and people who used vibrating hand tools are at an even greater risk. Cold weather can also exacerbate the problem.
Some diseases can increase your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. These include obesity, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Those who are pregnant also have a greater chance of developing the syndrome. In addition, those who have fractured or injured their wrist in other ways can sometimes develop carpal tunnel in the future.
How can carpal tunnel be prevented and treated?
You can mitigate these risk factors by taking a few steps to protect your wrist. If repetitive motion is the culprit, make changes in your tasks and give your wrist a break now and then. Pinpoint the source of the repetitive motion and adjust as best you can. Even small changes can take pressure off the problem area.
Stretching and flexing your wrists is a good way to relieve tension. It is also a good idea to strengthen your wrists through exercise. A technique known as nerve gliding exercises is particularly useful for this.
Your doctor may recommend a splint or brace in order to keep the wrist immobile. In addition to the at home methods mentioned above, sleeping with a brace can give the median nerve a chance to recuperate overnight. However, in severe cases your doctor may suggest other forms of treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment can range from splinting to medication and sometimes surgery. In some cases, cortisone injections may be administered to decrease the swelling.
As a medical billing company that provides services for orthopedic surgeons, we can attest that the number of carpal tunnel cases are on the rise. Making small lifestyle changes can be all that is necessary in order to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, be sure to speak with your doctor if the condition worsens or returns despite your efforts. Our hands and wrists are a vital part of everyday life, it’s worth it to keep them in good health.
Disclaimer: The materials contained on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Advanced Medical Practice Management does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site.