There is a lot of information regarding carpal tunnel syndrome, but unfortunately there is just as much false information. You need to know what it is, how it is treated and why it occurs. Learning preventative techniques can go a long way to saving you pain later down the road. This article can help you understand what this affliction is and how you can manage your life with it and even steps you can take to avoid it.
What is the difference between carpal tunnel syndrome and a pinched nerve? In actuality carpal tunnel syndrome is a pinched nerve. Most people will complain of a pinched nerve in their back which causes pain. The same thing can happen in your arm. It happens quite frequently to people who use their hands and arms a lot. That is why protecting that tunnel and the nerve inside it is so important.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome? The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is often hard to pinpoint. There could be a variety of causes that trigger the tunnel that houses the median nerve to become inflamed or swollen. And as the tunnel decreases in size it puts more and more pressure on the median nerve. That is what is causing the numbness and the shooting pain. Initially the cause of the inflamed tendons surrounding the carpal tunnel could be due to holding your wrists in the wrong position while typing or performing tasks with your hand. It could even be because you sleep with your hands flexed. Another factor that can play a huge part in whether or not carpal tunnel syndrome manifests itself is congenital predispositions. If your tunnel is smaller than another person's then you are probably more at risk of injuring it.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated? For many people rest is the best treatment method. Any time someone is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome the doctor orders them to give the area affected a two week break. Sometimes the doctor will write a prescription for anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the swelling in the tendons along the tunnel. If that does not work or the symptoms continue then further treatment options are available depending on the severity. Some people can take prescription corticosteroids to help as well as increase their vitamin intake. Exercises are often recommended and people with this condition are referred to a physical therapist who can teach them how to strengthen and stretch the muscles. Some even turn to acupuncture or chiropractors to help them. Usually a last place alternative is surgery. Surgery is risky but many times it is necessary. The surgeon will go in and make the carpal tunnel larger through either open release surgery or endoscopic surgery.
Can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented? Honestly there is no way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome if you are congenitally predisposed to having a narrow carpal tunnel. But there are some things you can do. You can try stretching your arms and wrists often to prevent cramping. You can wear wrist splints to ensure that you keep your wrists straight. If you work at a computer every day for long hours you can buy wrist guards to place in front of your keyboard and your mouse. Those guards will keep your hands in the proper positions and keep your wrists flexed at the right angle. If you own a business where people work with their hands a lot, you may want to think about ergonomics. By designing workstations ergonomically you reduce the strain on workers hands and fingers and can keep injuries to a minimum.
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