Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The carpal tunnel may be a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling and weakness within the hand and arm.
The anatomy of your wrist, health problems and possibly repetitive hand motions can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.Proper treatment usually relieves the tingling and numbness and restores wrist and hand function.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms usually start gradually and include:
Tingling or numbness - You may notice tingling and numbness in your fingers or hand. Usually the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers are affected, but not your pinkie . You might feel a sensation like an electrical shock in these fingers. The sensation may travel from your wrist up your arm. These symptoms often occur while holding a wheel , phone or newspaper, or may wake you from sleep. Many people "shake out" their hands to undertake to alleviate their symptoms. The numb feeling may become constant over time.
Weakness - You may experience weakness in your hand and drop objects. This may flow from to the numbness in your hand or weakness of the thumb's pinching muscles, which also are controlled by the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve.
The median nerve runs from your forearm through a passageway in your wrist (carpal tunnel) to your hand. It provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except the little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb (motor function).
Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist fracture can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve, as can the swelling and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Many times, there's no single explanation for carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be that a combination of risk factors contributes to the development of the condition.
A number of things are related to carpal tunnel syndrome. Although they'll indirectly cause carpal tunnel syndrome, they'll increase the danger of irritation or damage to the median nerve. These include:
Anatomic factors - A wrist fracture or dislocation, or arthritis that deforms the tiny bones within the wrist, can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and put pressure on the median nerve. People who have smaller carpal tunnels could also be more likely to possess carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sex - Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually more common in women. This may be because the carpal tunnel area is comparatively smaller in women than in men. Women who have carpal tunnel syndrome can also have smaller carpal tunnels than women who do not have the condition.
Nerve-damaging conditions - Some chronic illnesses, like diabetes, increase your risk of nerve damage, including damage to your median nerve.
Inflammatory conditions - Rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions that have an inflammatory component can affect the liner round the tendons in your wrist and put pressure on your median nerve.
Medications - Some studies have shown a link between carpal tunnel syndrome and therefore the use of anastrozole (Arimidex), a drug wont to treat carcinoma .
Obesity - Being obese may be a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Body fluid changes - Fluid retention may increase the pressure within your carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve. This is common during pregnancy and menopause. Carpal tunnel syndrome related to pregnancy generally gets better on its own after pregnancy.
Other medical conditions - Certain conditions, like menopause, thyroid disorders, renal failure and lymphedema, may increase your chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Workplace factors - Working with vibrating tools or on an production line that needs prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve or worsen existing nerve damage, especially if the work is completed during a cold environment.
There are not any proven strategies to stop carpal tunnel syndrome, but you'll minimize stress on your hands and wrists with these methods:
Reduce your force and relax your grip - If your work involves a register or keyboard, as an example , hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use an enormous pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
Take short, frequent breaks - Gently stretch and bend hands and wrists periodically. Alternate tasks when possible. This is especially important if you employ equipment that vibrates or that needs you to exert an excellent amount of force. Even a few minutes each hour can make a difference.
Watch your form - Avoid bending your wrist all the high or down. A relaxed middle position is best. Keep your keyboard at elbow height or slightly lower.
Improve your posture - Incorrect posture rolls shoulders forward, shortening your neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands, and may cause neck pain.
Change your computer mouse - Make sure that your mouse is comfortable and doesn't strain your wrist.
Keep your hands warm - You're more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you're employed during a cold environment. If you cannot control the temperature at work, placed on fingerless gloves that keep your hands and wrists warm.
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