Things You Need To Know About Carpal Tunnel…
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a diagnosis that anybody dreads hearing. It results in living with the constant discomfort of tingling, burning, pain and numbness, involving any portion of your hands from the tip of your fingers up to the arms. All of this because of a disturbance in a single nerve. The good news is that timely measures can remove the root cause of the issue and revert the condition fully. Let’s look at the most important facts and misconceptions, related to carpal tunnel.
It All Boils Down To A Nerve
Yes, the culprit is a single nerve in your body, called the median nerve and which begins from the forearm and goes straight up to the thumb, middle and index finger of each hand (more on that here). It also spreads to a part of the ring finger, where it is located in the so called carpal tunnel canal. If blood flow to the nerve becomes obstructed, your hand starts to hurt and you can feel an associated numbness and tingling sensation.
If you spend a lot of time behind the steering wheel or on the phone, chances to fall victim to the carpal tunnel are high. The symptoms might make you shift or shake your hands instinctively in an attempt to get rid of the unpleasant sensation. Unfortunately, they might worsen at night and lead to troubled sleep and insomnia for the patient.
Don’t Feel Guilty For Chatting And IMing
While scientists are yet to pinpoint a single cause behind getting afflicted with carpal tunnel, there are several factors which contribute to turning risk factors into a diagnosis. They vary from genetics through obesity and inflammation to pregnancy and a possible tightness of an individual’s carpal tunnel by birth. Rheumatoid arthritis, menopause and diabetes are also on the list of usual suspects. Find out more at gppconline.com/paul-paterson-md/dr-paterson-carpal-tunnel.
Repetitive movements with the hands such as typing are not considered the main cause for the condition. They are, however, a very likely trigger in cases where the abovementioned factors are present.
The Sooner You Act, The Better
Despite the fact that your symptoms may come and go, untreated carpal tunnel tends to get worse over time. An exception would be if you remove the root cause, such as weight gain during pregnancy that’s resolved once you give birth, for example.
If you suspect you might have the condition, waiting for it to go away is hardly a good idea. The sooner you see a doctor, undergo a physical exam, an x-ray or even an electromyogram to see if there are disturbances in the way your hands function, the quicker you will be able to take measures and start on the path to curing your carpal tunnel, before your state, and your symptoms, become severe.
Levels Of Treatment
The two main kinds of carpal tunnel treatment involve either reducing the swelling by the use of medication or broadening of the canal in order to avoid compressing the nerve. The first is usually achieved by anti-inflammatory drugs of non-steroidal origin. Applying ice to the area is another way to alleviate symptoms. While these will certainly provide some momentous relief, it is definitely not a long-term solution.
For more advanced cases that have not yet reached a stage that requires surgical intervention, a physician might prescribe sleeping with an immobilized hand with the help of a wrist splint. It has the function of keeping the hand straight and preventing involuntary positions that would aggravate the pain and lead to pains, sharp enough to wake the patient from their sleep. Corticosteriod injections around the affected area are another successful step that might provide a bit longer-term effect that is likely to last for month or even eradicate milder cases of the carpal tunnel. If all else fails, however, a final step to dealing with the condition remains the option of surgery.
A Word On Prevention
If you are one of those people whose work involves repetitive movements, taking frequent breaks and changing your hands’ positions might prove to be key to carpal tunnel prevention. Mild stretches and exercise are always welcome, as well, but you should first consult your physician about that, especially if you are suffering from certain conditions. Improving your standing or sitting positions by an ergonomic environment is one of the best decisions you can make to reduce your risk.
To get more information, read this.
Of course, if you already have carpal tunnel, prevention is not the only measure you will have to take. Contacting a medical professional about the most appropriate measures in your individual case is the best course of action. And the sooner adequate measures are undertaken, the better your chances of overcoming and even eradicating the condition.