Individuals who have developed carpal tunnel syndrome may wonder what caused it and what they can do about it. This condition occurs due to a pinched nerve in the wrist area. It becomes worse over time, especially if no treatment is prescribed. The carpal tunnel is the name of a passageway in wrists where major nerves run though. Every time that hand, finger, wrist and thumb movements are made, this nerve is triggered and gives a sensory reaction. When the region becomes pressured, it can become uncomfortable and downright painful.
While doctors can’t pinpoint the exact causes in many cases, there are some that are likely suspects. For one thing, if a person’s genetic predisposition has given him or her a very narrow passageway for the median nerve in this region, it will be likelier that the syndrome will show up. Some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can make the malady more likely, as well. Having a broken bone in this body part may also lead to a change in the shape and size of the tunnel, creating problems. This tunnel is quite narrow to begin with, only the width of a finger. Repetitive movements such as working on a keyboard for hours upon hours or throwing newspapers as a delivery person can all possibly lead to the uncomfortable problem. Certain situations make individuals more prone to this condition, too, such as their working conditions, anatomy, pregnancy, arthritis or nerve damage.
Symptoms That You May Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Initially, a sufferer may not experience outright pain. Instead, there may be numbness, tingling and a general achiness. Individuals may just blow it off as tiredness until the condition progresses. Their hands may become so weak that they start to drop objects or they may not have their usual strength to grasp items. Eventually, pain occurs and worsens. The pains aren’t just in the hands but start to move upward into the wrists, forearms, upper arms and shoulders.
What Can Be Done About It
There are treatment options that can help sufferers of this malady. There are some non-surgical and surgical techniques that can alleviate the problem. Non-surgical remedies include wrist splinting, exercises designed by a physical therapist, anti-inflammatory medications and injections of corticosteroids by a hand doctor. Surgeries would need to be performed by a specialist and would include endoscopic or open hand surgery. The goals of these operations are to sever the ligament that’s compressing the nerve that is creating the pain, numbness and weakness. The ligaments will grow back but the procedure is designed to have it heal into a wider and more pain-free position.
An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure, just like the old adage says. Some ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome include taking exercise breaks to stretch and move your hands in a different way if you perform repetitive tasks, keeping your hands warm, not sleeping on top of them, having better posture, using more appropriate body mechanics and not grasping objects so tightly. These tactics will all give your hands a break and keep them healthier.