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Discussion in 'Lifestyle & Healthy Living' started by tubero101, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. (WHAT)
    Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain and other symptoms in the hand. It is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Treatment is usually effective.

    What is the carpal tunnel?
    There are eight small bones called carpal bones in the wrist. A ligament (also called retinaculum) lies across the front of the wrist. Between this ligament and the carpal bones is a space called the carpal tunnel. The tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the fingers pass through the carpal tunnel. A main nerve to the hand (median nerve) also goes through this tunnel before dividing into smaller branches in the palm.

    The median nerve gives feeling to the thumb, index and middle fingers, and half of the ring finger. It also controls the movement of the small muscles at the base of the thumb.


    What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

    This syndrome is a set of symptoms thought to be caused by squashing (compression) of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. In terms of age, carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in:

    • People in their late 50s, particularly women.
    • People in their late 70s, when men and women are equally affected.
    Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in people who are obese and it often runs in families. It is more common in women who are pregnant.

    What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
    • Pins and needles. This is tingling or burning in part or all of the shaded area shown above. This is typically the first symptom to develop. The index and middle fingers are usually first to be affected.
    • Pain in the same fingers may then develop. The pain may travel up the forearm and even to the shoulder.
    • Numbness of the same finger(s), or in part of the palm, may develop if the condition becomes worse.
    • Dryness of the skin may develop in the same fingers.
    • Weakness of some muscles in the fingers and/or thumb occurs in severe cases. This may cause poor grip and eventually lead to muscle wasting at the base of the thumb.
    Symptoms can vary from person to person from mild to severe. One or both hands may be affected. Symptoms tend to come and go at first, often after you use the hand. Typically, symptoms are worse at night and may wake you up.

    The symptoms may be eased for a while by raising the hand up or hanging it down. Flicking the wrist may also give relief. Symptoms persist all the time if the condition becomes severe.

    What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

    • In most cases it is not clear why it occurs. It is thought that some minor changes occur in the tendons and/or other structures going through the carpal tunnel. This may cause an increase in pressure within the tunnel. The increase in pressure is thought to squash (compress) and restrict the blood supply to the median nerve. As a result, the function of the median nerve is affected causing the symptoms.
    • Your genes may play a part. There seems to be some inherited (genetic) factor. About 1 in 4 people with carpal tunnel syndrome have a close family member (father, mother, brother, sister) who also has or had the condition.
    • Bone or arthritic conditions of the wrist such as rheumatoid arthritis or wrist fractures may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • Various other conditions are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. For example: pregnancy, obesity, an underactive thyroid, diabetes, the menopause, other rare diseases, and a side-effect of some medicines. Some of these conditions cause water retention (oedema) which may affect the wrist and cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • Rare causes include cysts, growths, and swellings coming from the tendons or blood vessels passing through the carpal tunnel.
    Do I need any tests?
    Often the symptoms are so typical that no tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis.

    If the diagnosis is not clear then a test to measure the speed of the nerve impulse through the carpal tunnel may be advised ( Please or Register to view links). A slow speed of impulse down the median nerve will usually confirm the diagnosis. Some people may also be referred for an ultrasound scan or a MRI scan to look at their wrist in more detail.

    (HOW to prevent)
    7 Tips for Preventing Carpal Tunnel (It's Worth the Wrist)
    Just because you work in an office doesn’t mean carpal tunnel syndrome is inevitable. Learn what you can do to minimize your risks by protecting your wrists.

    Question for you: Is there anything you can do to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve disorder of the hand caused by nerve compression?
    The answer is yes, there may be. Actually, the good news is, there are at least seven things you can do that may minimize your risks.

    You may reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome by taking these steps.

    Reducing your chances of getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    1. Minimize repetitive hand movements by alternating between tasks for activities to reduce strain on your hands and wrists. An example of this is looking at your to do list and breaking it up so that you’re not spending the entire morning at your keyboard. For instance, break up the time by making phone calls, organizing files, running an errand or simply taking a quick walk.
    2. When using your wrists, be mindful about keeping them straight. Let your arms and shoulders share the stress.
    3. Use your whole hand or both hands to pick up an item. For example, don’t loop plastic grocery bags around your thumbs. It’s better to make two trips than stress your wrists.
    4. Avoid holding an object the same way for a long time. Grasping a paint brush or scissors from even a slightly different angle periodically can reduce repetitive stress.
    5. If you work in an office, adjust your desk, chair, and keyboard so you are in the best possible position:
      • Back straight
      • Feet flat on the floor (or resting on a footrest)
      • Knees level with or slightly lower than your hips
      • Shoulders in a neutral position, not forward or back
      • Elbows bent at a 90-degree angle
      • Forearms parallel to the floor and wrists straight
    6. Take breaks at least every hour to:
      • Rest or shake your hands
      • Massage your palms and backs of your hands
    7. Cut down on Please or Register to view links and Please or Register to view links. These activities may reduce blood flow to your hands.
    When to see a doctor for carpal tunnel syndrome
    Applying these carpal tunnel prevention tips regularly, especially if you work in an office, can be beneficial to your overall health as well. If you wake up in the night with numb hands, experience pain, numbness, stiffness or weakness in your hand or wrist, or pain that moves up your arm, be sure to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you do have carpal tunnel syndrome there are simple and effective treatment options to help reduce your symptoms.

    Please or Register to view links
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