5 Things You Need to Know About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Do you feel a tingling sensation in your hand? Or weakness that you can't pick up a pen? How about waking up in your sleep frequently because of the pain in your hand?
If you have any of these symptoms, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hands and wrists. This condition happens when the median nerve is squeezed or compressed. The compression can cause pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in your hand.
In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time. If left untreated for too long, it can cause permanent damage. It's important to consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What are the risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a combination of many factors. These include:
- Repetitive Motions. Activities that require repeating the same hand and wrist motions, like typing, may aggravate the tendons in the wrist.
- Health Conditions. Certain conditions such as diabetes, menopause, obesity, and hypothyroidism may increase the chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Anatomic Factors. Some people with naturally smaller carpal tunnels.
- Sex. Studies show that women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Improper Hand and Wrist Placement. Doing activities that require extreme flexion or extension of the wrist for a long time can increase pressure on the nerve.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome start gradually and get worse over time. These may include:
- Numbness, burning, tingling, or pain in the fingers or hand
- Weakness in the hand causing difficulty to do fine movements
- Pain that travels up the forearm
- Wrist pain
The symptoms usually start at night because most people sleep with their wrists bent.
What are the treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Treating carpal tunnel syndrome early on can make the problem go away. These includes:
- Resting your hands by taking more frequent breaks
- Avoiding activities that aggravate the symptoms
- Doing wrist exercises recommended by your doctor
- Losing weight if you’re overweight or obese
- Avoiding sleeping on your hands
- Wearing a wrist brace or splint
Other non-surgical treatments include taking pain relievers and steroid injections. If the non-surgical treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery.
How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?
There are many ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Stretch often
- Use ergonomic keyboard and mouse
- Keep your hands warm
- Sleep with your wrist straight
- Avoid flexing and extending your wrists repeatedly
- Keep your wrist straight when using tools
- Take breaks whenever possible
Disclaimer: Although the information is gathered with great care, please note that the tips given on this website by no means substitute medical advice. If you're experiencing pain, consult your healthcare professional immediately and follow his advice regardless of what you've learned on this website.