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Carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in
your wrist that contains and protects the
nerves and tendons that extend into your
hand. When the tissues in the carpal tunnel
becomes swollen or inflamed, they put
pressure on your median nerve, which
provides sensation to our thumb and index,
middle and ring fingers. Excess pressure on
this nerve produces the numbness and pain
that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.
Both wrists can be affected.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Tingling or numbness in part of the hand.
Sharp pains that shoot from the wrist up the
arm, especially at night.
Burning sensations in the fingers.
Morning stiffness or cramping of hands.
Thumb weakness and frequent dropping of
objects.
Inability to make a fist.
SOME OF THE CAUSES
Work or hobbies that are hand-intensive,
involving repetitive wrist or finger motion,
forceful pinching, gripping or grasping or
working with vibrating tools. Typing,
needlework, assembly line task, and even
your sleep position can pose problems.
Women seem to be more at risk than men.
Some diseases can cause carpal tunnel
syndrome such as, some thyroid conditions,
diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and
pregnancy.
Children that play computer games may also
be at risk.
DIAGNOSIS
The doctor may want to do an
electromyogram ( nerve conduction study) to
find out if the electrical impulses traveling
along the median nerve are slowed in the
carpal tunnel, indicating that the nerve is
being compressed. A test for Tinel’s sign
also may be done: the doctor taps on the
front of the wrist, and tingling or a shooting
pain into your hand or forearm is usually a
reliable indication that the syndrome is
present.
TREATMENTS
Usually simply resting the joint and wearing
a splint to immobilize the wrist will help.
Your doctor may also inject the area with a
steroid drug, such as cortisone. But this
treatment of injections, should only be use
when all else fails.
An operation may also be done, if the pain is
persistent and the numbness continues. This
surgery is usually done through an
arthroscopic surgery.
SOME PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Take quick breaks, massage,
over-the-counter anti-inflammatory
medications can relieve the symptoms
temporarily. You may also want to try
wearing a wrist splint at night, remember it
should be snug, but not tight.
Take micro-breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.
Take a 60 seconds to stop what you are
doing, gently stretch your hands and fingers
back. Avoid bending your wrist all the way
up or down. If you use a keyboard, keep it at
elbow height or slightly lower. Relax your
grip. Avoid using a hard grip when driving
your car, painting, or writing.
Remember, if pain, numbness, or weakness
persist for more than a couple of weeks,
SEE YOUR DOCTOR!!!