Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that results in burning in your palm and thumb, difficulty gripping objects tightly and a tingling sensation travelling up your arm. The proximate cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is compression of a nerve (the median nerve) as it passes through a tunnel in your wrist known as your carpal tunnel. This is in fact a widespread condition among North American adults, affecting one in twenty of them. It has a material impact on the quality of life of affected individuals. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive movements of the wrist and hand over an extended period. It is also caused by certain health conditions like hypothyroidism and diabetes. You can help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by changing the way you use your hands and wrists to perform repetitive tasks. Hand/wrist stretching and strengthening exercises can also be effective in carpal tunnel prevention.
This condition is particularly painful upon waking up in the morning. Many of us tend to close our hands while sleeping and, if we have this condition, we can experience significant pain upon awakening and trying to open our hands.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Probably the primary cause of Carpal Tunnel is repetitive use of the hands and wrist in activities that require small precise movements. Operating a computer mouse is one such example.
Other causes of Carpal Tunnel include certain health conditions like obesity, hypothyroidism and diabetes.
How Can I Prevent The Onset Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As mentioned above, this condition is primarily the result of small repetitive hand and wrist movements that you perform over extended periods. One prevention strategy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, therefore, is to avoid performing such movements for more than short periods of 10-15 minutes, for example. Instead, keep changing the task you are performing in such a way that your hand and wrists frequently change position.
Another way to prevent yourself getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to follow an exercise program that will strengthen your hand and wrist muscles. Such a program will improve your ability to continually perform repetitive movements with hand and wrist. The exercises shown in the info-graph to the left will help to achieve this.
To treat your carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may recommend the use of topical analgesics to ease the pain. He or she may also advise a program of exercises to ease the condition. In addition to these measures, you can also use a wrist splint to keep your hands from closing at night. Kinesiology tape can also be used to reduce the pain of carpal tunnel. Another approach to try is to vary the way in which we use our hands to perform repetitive tasks at work or elsewhere. Changes in body posture can also sometimes be effective.
If these conservative approaches do not work, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem.
To read more about this condition and how to treat it, please read this post.