Carpal tunnel syndrome

carpal-tunnel-syndrome-nerve-diagram.jpg

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist.

Common symptoms include:

  • Tingling or numbness. Usually the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers are affected, but not your little finger. Sometimes there is a sensation like an electric shock in these fingers. The sensation may travel from your wrist up your arm.
  • Weakness.

Risk factors include:

  • Anatomic factors. A wrist fracture or dislocation, or arthritis that deforms the small bones in the wrist, can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and put pressure on the median nerve.
  • Sex. Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally more common in women.
  • Nerve-damaging conditions. Such as diabetes.
  • Inflammatory conditions. Such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Obesity. Being obese is a significant risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Alterations in the balance of body fluids. Fluid retention may increase the pressure within your carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve. This is common during pregnancy and menopause. Carpal tunnel syndrome associated with pregnancy generally resolves on its own after pregnancy.
  • Other medical conditions. Certain conditions, such as menopause, obesity, thyroid disorders and kidney failure, may increase your chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Workplace factors. It’s possible that working with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve or worsen existing nerve damage.

Preventions:

  • Reduce your force and relax your grip. If your work involves a cash register or keyboard, for instance, hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
  • Take frequent breaks. Gently stretch and bend hands and wrists periodically. Alternate tasks when possible. This is especially important if you use equipment that vibrates or that requires you to exert a great amount of force.
  • Watch your form. Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. A relaxed middle position is best. Keep your keyboard at elbow height or slightly lower.
  • Improve your posture. Incorrect posture rolls shoulders forward, shortening your neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
  • Change your computer mouse. Make sure that your computer mouse is comfortable and doesn’t strain your wrist.
  • Keep your hands warm. You’re more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you work in a cold environment. If you can’t control the temperature at work, put on fingerless gloves that keep your hands and wrists warm.

Treatments:

Nonsurgical therapy

  • Wrist splinting.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Corticosteroids.

Surgery

  • Endoscopic surgery.
  • Open surgery.

carpal tunnel release - mayo—— from Mayo Clinic

Acupuncture and Carpal tunnel syndrome: