Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Help, Support and Overcome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Overview
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a common disease that causes pain, numbness or a tingling sensation in the hands and fingers. The symptoms can be mild to severe. The carpal tunnel is a small tunnel that extends from the bottom of the wrist to the lower palm. This tunnel houses a number of tendons that help to move the fingers, including the median nerve which is responsible for sensation and movement of the hand.
The increased tissue pressure and a build up of fluid is the main cause behind CTS. This pressure increases when you bend your fingers and wrist. CTS is common among men and women after the age of 50 years. It must be mentioned here that the condition affects more women than men. Almost 50% of pregnant women are affected by CTS. People who have mild symptoms will respond well to non-surgical methods of treatment, such as wrist splints.
A surgery is required to reduce the pressure on the median nerve in more severe cases. CTS during pregnancy is not severe and it is highly unlikely that it will reach a stage where a surgery will be recommended. The symptoms actually get better within three months of the baby being born, while in some cases the symptoms may continue for a year.
Help and Support for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CTS is caused by the squashing of the median nerve at the site of the wrist. The nerves signal get disrupted, thereby affecting the sense of touch and finger movements. The median nerves get compressed when the tendons that go through the carpal tunnel is inflamed. A number of risk factors are identified for CTS, such as family history, certain health conditions and pregnancy.
The main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndromeare tingling, numbness and pain. One can feel these symptoms in the thumb, the index finger and the middle finger. You may also feel a discomfort in the hand and the forearm. The GP can diagnose a condition of CTS by examining your hand and wrist and would also make an inquiry about the symptoms. The doctor will look for signs of weakness in the muscles surrounding the thumb as it can indicate carpal tunnel syndrome.
He may even flex your wrist for a minute to check for any numbness or pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is very difficult to prevent as it occurs as an aftermath of a wrist injury or any other condition of the bone. It is very common among patients of rheumatoid arthritis. If you treat the underlying health condition, then you can get relief from the symptoms and, thereby, prevent recurrence.
Overcome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Corticosteroid injections and wrist splints are used for treatment of mild forms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Surgery is only recommended in severe cases when the symptoms persist for more than six months. The doctor may also advise surgery if non-surgical treatments prove to be ineffective.
The surgery is known as carpal tunnel decompression surgery and is conducted on an outpatient basis which means overnight stay at the hospital is not required. During treatment or after surgery you can use your hand to do light activities that do not cause excessive pain. The recovery time usually lasts a few weeks so you must refrain from heavy activities during this period.