Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that has become much more prevalent in the last century due in no small part to the tremendous amount of time that members of today's workforce spend typing on computers. The median nerve along with several tendons run through a very small area called the carpal tunnel, when pressure is put on the nerve and tendons Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can develop.
Certain illnesses such as arthritis, hypothyroidism,and diabetes can cause the condition. Pregnancy and prolonged periods of performing repetitive motions are also potential factors for developing that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms include pain, tingling and numbness in the wrist and hand. Carpal tunnel typically does not affect the pinky finger and often presents itself at first at night. If symptoms are present, the best idea is visiting a physician and getting an exam.
During a doctor's exam, they will want to know about the patient's daily routine and their health background, they will check on the patient's feeling and strength as well as the overall appearance of hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. Very often doctors will order blood or nerve tests in addition to their physical examination to ensure they arrive at a proper diagnosis.
If a diagnosis of carpal tunnel is reached, but it is a mild case, very often home remedies and care will be sufficient to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. Some of the following treatments might be effective:
- Discontinue activities that are causing the symptoms
- Rest the affected wrist more often than usual
- Ice the wrist for 15 to 20 minutes once or twice per hour
- Wear a wrist splint at night to alleviate pressure on the median nerve
- Take over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen, these will reduce pain and swelling
If the carpal tunnel is an effect of another condition, different medications may be needed to treat the underlying condition. Surgery is also an option for severe cases that can't be helped by using medicine or traditional home treatments.
As with most medical conditions, prevention is the best way to avoid getting carpal tunnel in the first place, if conditions that increase the risk of getting carpal tunnel are present, following doctors instructions and taking prescribed medicines as directed can be integral. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including weight management and regular exercise will contribute to overall health.
Finally, there are ways of practicing proper care of wrists and hands to keep the possibility of carpal tunnel at a minimum:
- Whenever possible, use hands in a neutral position, this will lessen the pressure on the median nerve
- Use the entire hand to hold objects, particularly heavy ones, instead of holding loosely with just the fingers
- Alternate hands when doing tasks that include repetitive motions, sharing the movement between both hands will lessen the fatigue put on one arm or the other
- When typing, keep the wrists as straight as possible and have the hands above the wrist. Using proper typing positioning will assist in helping to maintain this practice