Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the nerve compression within the tunnel composed of the carpal bones and transverse carpal ligament which is a tight band of fibrous tissues that encloses the tunnel. It is caused when the tunnel that surrounds the tissues in the bones of the wrist becomes narrow, it result to inflammation of the tissue and the median nerve. A mass will occupy the canal and result to compressing the nerve.[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-SeJh5-nOo”]
People performing repetitive motions are in the high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome that includes carpenters, check-out line technicians, assembly line workers, auto mechanics and people using computers throughout the day.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Difficulty in making a fist
- Numbness or “pins and needles” feelings in the fingers
- Swelling feeling in the fingers
- Difficulty in holding small objects
- Weakness of the hand
- Difficulty in gripping objects using the hands
- Burning or tingling sensation can be felt in the thumb, index and the middle fingers or pain that moves the arm to the elbow
- Avoid performing activities that cause compression and the irritating the median nerve such as repetitively flexing the wrist, lifting heavy weights using the hands, punching hard objects and sleeping with bent wrist.
- Avoid wearing bracelets that are very tight
- Take prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen swelling and pain.
- Apply an ice pack on the wrist for at least 5 to 15 minutes 3-5 times every day to lessen inflammation, numb the pain and lessen symptoms. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite and worsen the condition. Wrap ice in a small towel or cloth before placing to the affected area. Another alternative, if ice is not available, a bag of frozen vegetable such as peas is also good for the condition.
- Wear a wrist splint to prevent unnecessary movement of the wrist, lessen compression or irritation of the median nerve and help with the condition. Wear splint when working in a computer, carrying bags of groceries and also relieve nighttime symptoms such as tingling and numbness of the hands especially when curling the wrist.
- Sleep on the back and arms at the sides and open the hands and wrist in a neutral position and wear a splint.
- Not all pain in the hand can be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Tendinitis, strains, arthritis, sprain mimic the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Take vitamin B6 supplements is good for the condition.
- The median nerves give sensation to the palm side of the fingers and thumb but not the little finger.
- Keep hands warm to prevent stiffness and hand pain due to cold temperature.
- If using equipment that needs plenty of force or it vibrates, take breaks or rest.