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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- The Compression of Median Nerve


Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused due to compression of the median nerve in the wrist affecting the function of the hand. It is a very common problem that affects the proper functioning of the hand.

Carpal tunnel is formed by bones, tendons, and ligaments that surround the median nerve. Median nerves supply the thumb, index, middle and half of ring finger. If the median nerve is compressed pain, weakness and numbness will be felt in these areas.

Symptoms:

• Numbness and tingling sensation in hand especially in the thumb, index middle and ring finger.
• A shock-like sensation is felt occasionally which radiates from the thumb and index, middle and ring finger.
• Pain and tingling sensation radiates upwards. Sometimes up to the shoulder.
• Weakness of hands. Sometimes it becomes very difficult to do basic work like buttoning the shirt.
• Due to the weakness of hands things tend to fall off from hands.
• Burning sensation in the middle and index finger.
• Pain in hand and wrist.
• Aggravation of symptoms happens when the hand is bent forward.
• Pain is worse at night.
• Pain occurs when the wrist is bent.

Causes :

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused due to compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space. The causes of obstruction can be:
• Compression due to a wrist fracture
• Inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis
• Anatomical defects, like having small carpal tunnel.
• Chronic illness like diabetes that can weaken median nerve
• Repetitive flexion and hyperextension of a wrist for a long time.
• High blood pressure
• Fluid retention during pregnancy and menopause.
• Prolonged exposure to vibrations due to working with hand tools

Risk factors:

• People who had suffered from a wrist injury or fracture are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
• People who are suffering from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
• Women are at higher risk than men.
• People suffering from chronic illness.
• Obese people
• Pregnant women
• Menopause
• People suffering from a thyroid disorder
• Renal failure
• Working with vibrating tools
• Typist
• Pianist
• Violinist

Complications :

Complications associated with carpal tunnel syndrome are quite uncommon, but the weakness of muscles can lead to atrophy. If this condition is not corrected in its initial stage, it will be a permanent complication and can even lead to loss of movement of the finger/fingers involved.

Lifestyle modifications to relief symptoms:

• Avoid overextension of the wrist.
• Always use a wrist split if your work requires a lot of wrist movements.
• Keep a check on blood sugar levels.
• Avoid smoking tobacco.
• Exercise regularly
• Take regular intervals from your work.
• Use comfortable grip pens.
• Improve your posture.
• Keep hands warm.
• Use a comfortable mouse while working on your computer.
• Avoid working on vibrating tools.

When to see a doctor?

If you feel symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome persistently is interfering in your day to day activities and even your sleep, do visit a doctor, to prevent permanent damage to your nerve and muscles.

Repetitive Strain Injury

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