what is carpal tunnel

On one hand, modern-day high-tech devices and technology such as computers, iPads, hand tools, and assembly-line machinery has made our jobs much easier and increased productivity, on the other hand, it has exposed us to many health issues. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of repetitive stress injury (RSI) that affects the hands and the fingers and is usually associated with the use of these modern-day high-tech devices. You might be surprised to know that carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common RSI and affects 4-10 million Americans. So what is carpal tunnel?

What is carpal tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of bones and ligaments. It helps to protect the main nerve (median nerve) of the hand. The median nerve controls the sensation and movement of the thumb and the first three fingers. When this median nerve is pinched or compressed, it results in feelings of sharp pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand or fingers, this condition is commonly referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms associated with CTS often appear when you perform specific actions that involve your wrist and fingers. The symptoms often get worse during the night and may show up in one or both hands. The symptoms often start gradually and as it progresses might result in weakness in the thumb and first two fingers. Sometimes it can progress to a point where the individual is unable to even hold things like a cup or a glass.

Some symptoms include:

  • sharp pain,
  • numbness,
  • tingling and weakness in the hand or fingers
  • pain is more noticeable at night
  • arm pain between the hand and elbow

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Treatment

Although the signs and symptoms associated with CTS are very dull in the initial stage, as the condition worsens, these symptoms may progress and become constant. If left untreated, CTS can inflict permanent damage to the muscles on the thumb side of your hand.

A number of treatment options are available for CTS. Patients with mild symptoms can get relief by frequently resting their arm, applying ice/cold therapy, and avoiding any strenuous physical activity. Using wrist splints can offer some pain relief at night. Whereas using NSAIDs and painkillers can also some temporary pain relief. Similarly, physical therapies such as remedial massage, deep tissue massage or trigger point therapy have also shown to be extremely successful in the treatment of CTS. In cases where the symptoms are severe and extremely painful, doctors may advise surgery.

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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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