Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Everything You Need to Know!
If you work in an office, chances are you spend a lot of time typing. That’s probably why carpal tunnel syndrome is so common in people who work in the field of data entry or similar roles. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that can affect one or more of the fingers on your hand.
It’s usually caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through the wrist and inside the carpal tunnel – a small space at the base of your wrist where tendons from your hand and forearm meet to form ligaments. This article explains everything you need to know about carpal tunnel syndrome: what it is, its risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful and debilitating condition that can affect one or more fingers on one or both hands. It’s caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through the wrist and inside a small space called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway at the base of your wrist that houses tendons from your hand and forearm.
he median nerve, which supplies feeling and movement to your thumb and fingers, travels through this tunnel and can become compressed when there is too much swelling or pressure in the area, causing pain and numbness in your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often misdiagnosed, and many people don’t seek treatment until the pain becomes unbearable. Early diagnosis and treatment, however, can relieve the pain and reduce long-term damage.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is a combination of genetics, aging, and lifestyle factors. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect both men and women of any age, but most people who develop the condition are between 30 and 60 years old.
Repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as those made while typing or performing certain occupational tasks, are also a risk factor for the condition. And people who are overweight or have diabetes are at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Aging: People in their 40s and 50s are most likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. After age 60, the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome increases further.
Genetics: People with a family history of carpal tunnel syndrome are at an increased risk of developing the disorder themselves.
Repetitive hand and wrist movements: Occupations that require repetitive hand and wrist motions, such as typing, assembly work, and certain types of surgery, put you at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Smoking: Smoking puts you at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Excessive alcohol consumption: People who drink large amounts of alcohol are at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Obesity: Being overweight puts you at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Repetitive hand and wrist movements: Occupations that require repetitive hand and wrist motions put you at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other health conditions: Certain health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and Parkinson’s disease, put you at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Pain: The most common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is pain, which is often described as a mild to moderate burning sensation in the hand and wrist on the side where the median nerve is being compressed.
Numbness: Some people also experience numbness or tingling in their fingers on the affected hand.
Muscle weakness: The muscles in your hand and wrist may feel weak, especially when you first develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Difficulty moving your fingers: As the disorder progresses, many people find that it’s difficult for them to move their fingers.
Intermittent swelling: In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome leads to intermittent swelling of the hand and wrist, which can cause the carpal tunnel to become even more compressed.
Cramping: Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome also experience cramping in the hand and wrist.
Decreased grip strength: People with carpal tunnel syndrome often experience a decrease in their grip strength.
Treatment Options for Carpal Paranal Syndromes
Practice good ergonomics: Try to adjust your desk, chair, and other workstation settings so that your hand and wrist aren’t overworked. Avoid gripping anything too tightly, especially if you’re dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome in your dominant hand.
Strengthen your hands and wrists with regular exercises: Exercises such as wrist and finger stretches can help strengthen your hands and wrists.
Modify your typing rhythm and posture: You can ease the pressure on your hands and wrists by adjusting your keyboard and typing rhythm.
Try a wrist brace or splint: Wrist braces or splints can help to ease pain and pressure on the median nerve.
Take over-the-counter pain medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help to ease the pain and swelling of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Try alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage: Studies suggest that acupuncture and massage therapy can help with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Try pain-relieving injections: Steroid injections or local F can help to ease the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Get surgery if other methods aren’t effective: Surgery can help to relieve the pressure on the median nerve and stop the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can seriously impact your daily life. Fortunately, the majority of cases are mild and can be treated with conservative methods: adjusting workstation settings, learning ergonomic typing techniques, taking breaks from typing, and using wrist support while typing. If these methods don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome and prevent long-term damage.