Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Facts You Need to Know

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Most of you have probably heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but do you know what it is and what may help prevent and treat it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a numbness, tingling, weakness, and other problems in your hand because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. The carpal tunnel is the small area in your wrist that the median nerve and many tendons go through from your forearm to your hand. The feelings in your thumb and your first three fingers are controlled by this median nerve. The little finger is not controlled by this nerve.
When there is pressure put on the median nerve, this is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome. Things such as swelling can cause the pressure. Anything that makes this tunnel smaller causes the pressure. This swelling can be caused by hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Repetitive movements of the hands or wrists can cause this. Bending your wrists or just having bad positioning when working on your computer or laptop are culprits of having carpal tunnel syndrome. You may also have pain or a dull ache in the fingers, hand or wrist. They tend to be worse at night and they can come and go at any time. Sometimes the discomfort may extend to the forearm and upper arm. As the syndrome gets more severe your hands might feel clumsy or weak.

Pregnancy can cause carpal tunnel syndrome due to swelling in the body. They usually get worse in the second half of pregnancy when more and more fluids are retained. After childbirth when the swelling subsides, these symptoms usually go away. It is important to start treatment early on to prevent long-term damage. It is suggested you stop any activity that causes the numbness and pain. It is a good idea to rest your wrist between activities. Things that can help are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain to decrease swelling. You can ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes one to two times an hour. Wearing a wrist splint at night can also take the pressure off the median nerve.

For some people with carpal tunnel, surgery is needed. Do your best to avoid things that cause the pressure of the median nerve. Protect your hands and wrists by keeping your wrist in a neutral position. When you pick items up, use your whole hand not just fingers. When you type, it is best to keep your wrists straight with hands a bit higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when you have your arms at your sides. Learn how to change hands often when you have to do repeated movements. If you think you have any of these symptoms you should consider checking with your physician so you can be tested. Watch for the signs and symptoms. Do you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome?