The word carpal tunnel syndrome is difficult to understand at first glance by a lay man. This disease is though common and generally unnoticed but this term is scientific. The word ‘carpus’ is been derived from the Greek word ‘karpos’ meaning ‘wrist’. Our wrist is made up of 8 bones and 2 long bones in the forearm and surrounded by group of fibrous tissue that works as support for the joint. In most of the cases carpal bone which is injured is scaphoid bone located near the base of thumb. Distance between fibrous tissue and wrist bone is known as carpal tunnel. The nerve passing through carpal tunnel is called median nerve and it receives sensation from index and middle finger and thumb of the hand. In any case when swelling is caused or there is change in the tissue position carpal tunnel may squeeze or shrink and may irritate median nerve. This irritation in median nerve leads to weakness, pain and numbness or tingling in middle and index finger including the thumb and such condition is called ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ (CTS). Generally, in CTS there is pain in the hand and arm of an individual.
What are the circumstances when Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is caused?
Mainly the cause behind CTS is unknown to patients. It not only happens when tissues are damaged but also in the conditions when too much pressure is been exerted on the median nerve at wrist. It can also occur due to hereditary factors and continuous motion of hand for a long period of time. Normal situation that can lead to CTS are:
- Tendon inflammation due to non- stop typing
- Continuous stress
- Substances around CT leading to nerve irritation
- Multiple myeloma
How can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) be prevented?
CTS is caused due to several factors such as health problems and uninterrupted work (which includes hand or wrist) so the very first step to prevent CTS is to take proper care of own general health. It consist staying healthy, good weight, regular exercise, not smoking etc. Following are the measures which can be followed to prevent the diseases of CTS:
- Sit in a correct posture while using computers
- Limit the consumption of salt if you have problem to retain fluid
- Avoid doing continuous work for a long pan of time which involves hand and wrist
- Keep changing the motion or hand while typing or doing any other task
- Take breaks while working for long duration
- Do not do such activities which you think might cause pain in your arm, finger or wrist
- Keep your finger muscles, arm and hand flexible and strong
- Try to wear wrist splint when you are unable to control the motion of your hand, wrist, arm or finger i.e. at time when you are sleeping to keep them all in neutral position and to reduce stress
If you think that at your work place there are some tasks which causes trouble to your finger, arm, wrist or hand than do have words with the HR department of your office so that the way or methodology of doing that task could be changed or equipments which aid to complete that task could be changed.
Even do not do or avoid doing such work at your home also which leads to numbness and pain in your fingers, arm, wrist or hand. Keep changing the way to do activities and activities too.
How can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) be tested or identified?
Though many processes to identify CTS have been developed but still question arises on their accuracy. If symptoms of CTS are severe and cannot be healed by non- surgical treatment than doctors can diagnose the same in following manner:
- Blood tests which are generally done in cases of thyroid, rheumatoid, arthritis, etc.
- MRI to check the swelling of median nerve
- Ultrasound to test the size of median nerve
- X- ray to detect bone problem caused by past injuries
- Nerve testing to check and evaluate the loss of normal functioning of the median nerve
Despite of all the above tests the diagnosis of CTS remains to be unproved and uncommon.
Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) be cured through home treatment?
Answer to this question is definitely yes but here also one condition is imposed on it. Home treatment is workable only when it is applied at initial stage. Measures that can be adopted are:
- If there is pain or numbness in wrist or hand or finger ice it for around 10 minutes at a time. Do this twice or thrice in a day to reduce the pain and feel relax
- Do take proper intervals in between while working for long hours which involves wrist, fingers or hand or arm