Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common nerve disorders affecting over 4 – 10 million Americans. According to a recent research, middle-aged to older individuals are more likely to develop the syndrome and females three times more frequently than males.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression neuropathy caused by an increase pressure on the median nerve. The syndrome disables a key nerve that results in symptoms ranging from increased sensitivity, tingling, pain, weakness or numbness in the fingers, hand and wrist, burning sensation occasionally extending up to the forearm. People often attribute to any discomfort in the hand to carpal tunnel syndrome and therefore it is imperative to understand that there are many other conditions that contribute to similar complaints.
The carpel tunnel is located at the wrist on the palm side, beneath the skin surface of the hand. They consist of eight small wrist bones from three sides of the tunnel. The remaining side is composed of soft tissues and a ligament called the transverse carpal ligament that stretches over the top of the tunnel.
The median nerves and the corresponding nine flexor tendons to the fingers pass through the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is squeezed followed by slowing of nerve impulses from travelling through the nerve. The syndrome usually affects only one hand but can affect at the same time, influencing symptoms in the thumb, the index, middle and ring fingers.
The symptoms appear mostly in the morning after a person wakes up, however there are times when patients have complained about it happening during the night, interrupting their sleep. The condition may affect certain everyday activities including driving, holding a book or any other repetitive activity that involves hands to grasp anything for long periods of time. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may have difficulty in buttoning a shirt, or using a phone and as a result they are likely to drop things more easily. Depending on the condition, individuals may feel that their hand is swollen when no swelling is present and usually shake their hands in order to obtain relief. The disease if left untreated, patients may suffer from permanent nerve and muscle damage leading to loss of sensation in their hand.
Here are some of the fast facts of Carpal tunnel syndrome you may not know of:
- The syndrome could influence your hand strength and sensation and cause a rapid decrease in hand functionality to perform every day activities.
- Before diagnosing the syndrome many other conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis and other nerve involvement should be ruled out.
- It is possible to diagnose carpel tunnel syndrome on the base of history of the symptom.
- Fortunately, the syndrome can be treated effectively with prescribed medications, steroid injections and splinting.
Study suggests that Carpal tunnel syndrome is mostly attributed due to large usage of computers and similar devices. However, there is no clinical proof to support the idea. Regardless of the cause of the symptom, you can consult specialist doctors to determine the nature and severity of the condition.
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