Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a medical condition effecting the wrist which presents with several different symptoms. While the issue is caused by issues within the wrist it can cause problems in the wrist, hands and fingers. There can be several causes of this condition from other diseases to work, though ongoing studies are still being conducted to get more detailed information about it.
The condition happens when there is compression of the median nerve which is in the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This compression can happen because of swelling, injury, inflammation or many other reasons as well. The exact cause in most situations is never understood because it can be a combination of several different issues, or no obvious cause at all.
Most patients have a numb or tingling sensation in the thumb and fingers of one or both hands. It is most common in the index finger, middle finger and ring finger though it can present in any or all the fingers. Many people have pain in the wrists caused by the carpal Tunnel syndrome as well. With patients who report this pain it is most often accompanied by loss of strength in the hands and loss of grip. In some more severe cases the sufferer can experience pain all the way from their fingers to their elbow, though this is much less common.
It is most often impossible to get an exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome in individual cases. It is believed by many to be often associated with repetitive motion over the course of months or years. One of the most common tasks associated with this condition is excessive typing on computers, especially when using keyboards which are not ergonomically designed to reduce stress on the wrist.
It can also be caused by other diseases or by heredity. The size of the patients carpal tunnel can be an indicator of whether or not someone will be more prone to getting carpal tunnel syndrome as well. People with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases can increase the likelihood of getting CTS. Pregnant women often experience this condition while pregnant due to the retention of fluid causing additional pressure on the wrist.
Treating carpal tunnel syndrome can be done in a number of different ways depending on the severity of the case and how much it is effecting the day to day life of the patient. The first thing most doctors will try is using an immobilizing brace to keep the wrist from moving. This is done to allow the wrist to remain in a neutral position while the body heals and swelling goes down. This can be done in combination with physical therapy to strengthen the wrist and also behavior modification. Changing behavior is key in cases when it is believed to be caused by any sort of repetitive task.
In more serious cases doctors will perform surgery to release the transverse carpal ligament can be quite effective. Of course, the surgery comes with its own set of concerns from the scaring to recovery time. Working with a doctor to determine the best course of action is the best choice for anyone suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome.