Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a condition resulting from the compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway between the forearm and hand that is threaded with nerves and tendons. The median nerve is responsible for both sensation and movement in the thumb and middle three fingers. If the median nerve becomes compressed, the result is often pain, limited movement and other unfortunate symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The most common symptoms include:

  • Numb hands / loss of sensation in the thumb or fingers

  • Tingling fingers

  • Hand and wrist pain

  • Cold hands

  • Impaired hand motor skills

  • Poor hand circulation

  • Higher frequency of hand “falling asleep”

  • Decreased grip strength

  • Disrupted sleep due to hand pain or tingling

  • Aching shoulders and/or neck

Why did I get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

There are several common factors that are likely contributing to your condition.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is first and foremost a repetitive strain injury. It is often triggered by a repetitive task, vibration, position or prolonged compression. If you execute a repetitive task or hold your wrist in an awkward position for long periods of time, you are at high risk to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • If you have a small carpal tunnel the likelihood of nerve compression is significantly higher. This is often genetically inherited and thus difficult to “treat”.

  • The condition is much more prominent in women, which is likely due to the fact that they have significantly smaller carpal tunnels in general.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can also result from an injury, rheumatoid arthritis or hypothyroidism.

How can I treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

At the end of the day, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is really a series of symptoms, so the goal is to stop these symptoms or at the least, minimize them. If the symptoms disappear the syndrome is essentially over. Unfortunately, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms return with high frequency and often demand vigilant management. Some treatment options include:

  • Rest and immobilization.

  • Wearing a carpal tunnel brace, especially during specific trigger tasks.

  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and subsequent pressure on the nerve.

  • Surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition. A doctor can perform tests to determine whether a patient needs to be treated for carpal tunnel syndrome. Consulting with a medical professional is advisable for anyone who is experiencing any of the before-mentioned symptoms.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. To find a quality specialty orthopedic braces and support, such as a hinged knee brace or high quality lumbar brace, please visit MMAR Medical online.

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