Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If your job or hobby requires you to spend a lot of time punching cash register keys, gripping strings or holes on a musical instrument, clicking a mouse, or doing any other repetitive, forceful movement with your hands, you may be at risk for a painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The same appears to be true if you use your hands to control a jackhammer or other powerful, vibrating tool. Finding out about the symptoms and some home remedies for carpal tunnel may be the best way to understand them and take care of them. First, let’s talk about the symptoms.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that generally includes episodes of numbness, tingling, or “pins and needles” sensation, aching and burning in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and thumb side of the ring finger. Early on, these symptoms tend to appear in the night, or shortly after a period of repetitive motion, and shaking out the hand may bring relief. As the condition worsens, the discomfort occurs more frequently and becomes more bothersome. In some sever cases, pain may shoot from the wrist up the forearm and maybe even into the shoulder. The numbness in the fingers and thumb may become constant, and the thumb muscles may waste away. This can cause a loss of grip strength and coordination.
Why does this occur?
It is wise to look inside the wrist to understand how this works. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway that runs through the wrist. It is only about the size of a postage stamp, but it is crowded with nerves, blood vessels, and nine different tendons (packed in like strands of spaghetti) that control finger movements. Repetitive motions or certain medical conditions can cause these tendons to swell up, which decreases blood flow and compresses the median nerve. This controls movement and sensation in your thumb, middle, and index fingers, as well as one side of the ring finger. This is what causes episodes of numbness, tingling, and burning of the carpel tunnel syndrome. If it is left unchecked, muscle wasting and permanent damage can result.
The most common cause to carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive, forceful movements of the hand, especially if the wrist or hand is bent in an awkward position, such as in piano playing or typing. This is a difficult condition to endure.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common in the United States today, and there are many things that can be done to take care of the symptoms. This week, we will have an ongoing series about how best to take care of these carpal tunnel symptoms. If you have any questions or problems with carpal tunnel, contact our offices. We can help you with our new endoscopic carpal tunnel release procedure, and your wrist will be feeling better in no time. Come back tomorrow for more tips!