Do you know that carpal tunnel syndrome affects about four percent of the general population? The condition is one of the most prevalent nerve-related disorders and manifests in the wrists, usually due to overuse of the hands. Despite the prevalence of the disorder, many people are not aware of the symptoms and the treatment. Keep reading if you are interested in discovering how to tell whether you may have carpal tunnel in your wrists and how to treat it.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure is applied to the median nerve in the carpal tunnel found in the wrist. The pressure on the median nerve can be due to many reasons such as:
- Inflammation of the flexor tendons in the carpal tunnel
- Joint dislocations
- Pregnancy-induced edema
- Also, carpal tunnel syndrome may also be due to rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorders and so on.
Signs That You Have Carpal Tunnel in Your Wrists
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Numbness and a tingling sensation in the fingers and palm.
- Pain in the affected arm or hand. The index, ring, middle fingers and the thumb are the most affected.
- Weak grip.
- Shaking of the hand.
- Tendency to drop things.
- Occasional clumsiness.
- Shock-like sensations may also travel through the hand and fingers.
At first, the symptoms are mild, and they come and go. As time goes on, they become more severe. Also, the symptoms are more severe during the night than the day.
Medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery may be used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Below are some of the treatment options:
- Modifying the pattern of hand use to reduce the pressure on the nerve.
- You can also relieve the symptoms by keeping the wrist splinted in a straight position. This helps to reduce the pressure on the nerve.
- You can also treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome by wearing wrist splints or braces at night which is used to ameliorate symptoms that can prevent sleep. In severe cases, you may also be advised to wear splints during the day to stabilize the hand. One popular example is the ActiveWrap Hand and Wrist Ice / Heat Wrap seen below :
- Doctors may recommend painkillers such as over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and the likes to help reduce the inflammation to provide some relief.
- Another treatment option is by injecting steroids into the carpal tunnel to help lower the inflammation of the area surrounding the nerve.
- In severe cases, surgery is used to correct the condition. The surgery involves cutting the ligaments that form the top of the carpal tunnel to reduce the pressure on the nerve. However, results differ in different individuals, and some may see results within weeks while it might take months in others.
The following video will give you a few ideas on how to properly stretch your wrists to either prevent carpal tunnel or at least keep it at bay:
Carpal tunnel syndrome starts gradually and is usually caused by overuse of the hands in everyday activities such as typing, driving, and writing and so on. The condition gets worse with time and may result in complete loss of sensitivity in the affected hands if left untreated. While there are many treatment options, the earlier you seek professional help, the better your chances of getting total relief from the symptoms.
If you have carpal tunnel in your wrists, we’d love to hear from you. How you handle the day-to-day pain and other symptoms, if you’ve undergone surgery and how it went, or anything else you think our readers should hear about. Just use the comment box below!