What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Have you experienced chronic pain, numbness, and tingling in your arm? If so, it's possible that carpal tunnel syndrome is to blame. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your wrist becomes pinched or compressed due to repeated stress/force to the wrists, which leads to severe discomfort and complications. In most cases, symptoms worsen over time. Therefore, it is imperative that you receive a correct diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible, to stop this dreadful affliction, which can plague sufferers for years!

The carpal tunnel is the place at the base of your palm near your wrist, which helps protect a certain nerve and is covered by a ligament. You cannot stretch or expand it though, which can lead to compression of this nerve.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is when this space becomes too small and compresses the median nerve contained within it. When this happens, you will experience mild to extreme pain and tingling, as well as a weakness in your hand, as well as an impairment of your grip’s strength.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel?

Commonly attributed to bad posture while typing and repetitive motions, many fail to recognize that carpal tunnel syndrome is typically caused by more than just these two factors. Here are a few of the most common causes.

Health Conditions

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common health issue caused by several factors. Some of the most common risk factors include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), diabetes, an overactive pituitary gland, and an underactive thyroid gland.

Hand or Wrist Injury

When you suffer an injury to your hand or wrist, the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) significantly increase. Swelling that occurs as part of recovering from an injury can cause the carpal tunnel space to constrict, which in turn may place pressure on the median nerve, which runs up and down the arm.

Heredity

Genetic predisposition is often used as a reason why people develop certain illnesses and neurological problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome. While many conditions are caused by a combination of genetic factors, it is believed that those with family history are more likely to tend toward the condition than those without. Because of this belief, it may be beneficial to examine your family tree and speak with your own physician if such a problem ever arises in your own activity.

Repetitive Hand Movements

While working on repetitive tasks and always using the same movements, the body gets stressed over time. This can affect some more than others. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common ailment in workers who perform jobs that require them to use their hands often, such as assembly line workers, machine operators and typists.

Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

When the carpal tunnel is already damaged, the pain will last longer, and it might become more frequent during nighttime hours. During these instances, sufferers may notice that symptoms become more pronounced when their wrists are flexed – for example, when holding a phone or driving. Check out the most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome below…
  • A decreased grip strength
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning in your hand and fingers
  • Unable to feel the difference between hot and cold
  • Shock-like feelings that affect your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.
  • Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis

No one should suffer at the hands of a pain in the wrist. A visit to your doctor should clear up if that's what they have ;) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is so named because damage begins at the wrists and can move into the hands and up one's arm. The common symptom of CTS is numbness of the thumb, index finger and middle finger, which can also be accompanied by pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms and think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule an appointment with your physician, as it could take months or even years for permanent nerve damage to heal properly. He or she will likely first do a series of tests.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Anyone suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome knows how debilitating it can be, as numb and tingling fingers can make things a real trial. However, there are options available for both surgical treatments and medical ones, which you may want to consider, since some people prefer one over the other by virtue of personal preference or various factors.

Exercises

Strengthening exercises can be a great way to decrease your chances of needing surgery and strengthen forearms, wrists, and grip strength. These exercises are easy to do anywhere you are, with little or no specialized equipment. Unlike gym strength training, working the muscles in the wrists can be problematic if done too often.

And therefore, it is important for carpal tunnel stretches and exercises to be practiced regularly with caution, as some people have experienced pain from swelling or tension, which could lead to feeling irritated by the exercise, which can easily be avoided! By simply adhering to this rule, you can avoid any sort of discomfort altogether! So before attempting any type of exercise for wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome, make sure you know what your body will handle first - so as not to cause more harm than good!

Hot & Cold Therapy

Cold therapy uses cold packs or cold water baths. The perceived sensation of cold causes vasoconstriction (tightening of the blood vessels). This, in turn, leads to numbing of the pain. It also leads to vasoconstriction, which reduces swelling. This is a more desirable option than ibuprofen or aspirin, as these can cause bleeding and ulcers in some individuals, while ice therapy can be safely kept on an injury for fifteen minutes at a time.

Hot therapy can be done by using a herbal heating pad, a warm soak, or specialized fingerless gloves. The heat produced in these different products helps improve blood flow through the body, which in turn increases circulation, allowing your skin and muscles to heal naturally. A great way to provide the best care for injured fingers or wrists is by using a small heating pad on top of them, after performing intense activities like weight-lifting or even just typing on a keyboard all day. This will help keep them warm and prevent you from needing surgical procedures when small injuries arise.

Massage

Not many people know about medical massage, but it's definitely worth a shot as a treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. There are many benefits of this type of therapy - trained massage therapists can reach areas that other hands cannot, loosen muscles, relax joints and even heal trigger points, which may leave you feeling less pain and having more mobility in your wrists and surrounding areas. This combination with some exercises or yoga will ensure you get better results!

Precautions

The best place to start when it comes to relieving the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is by consulting a professional, your doctor. They can help you formulate the most effective treatment plan for your unique case. For cases that are more severe or chronic and require pain management beyond regular means, surgery or medication may be recommended. The important thing is being aware of what self-care measures may work for you, and keeping yourself educated on the latest health trends, so that you can further support healthier living!


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