Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression of the Median nerve within the wrist leading to tingling, numbness, pain in the hand and fingers, sometimes extending into the forearm as well.
The wrist has multiple small bones called the carpal bones and they have a narrow space between them known as the carpal tunnel. There are nine tendons and one nerve that pass through it. If there is a build-up of pressure within this tunnel, the nerve may get compressed and leads to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
There are multiple factors that can predispose a person to carpal tunnel syndrome such as pregnancy, obesity, etc. It is more common in elderly and in women. However some of the most common factors leading to carpal tunnel syndrome are activities that involve:
- Repetitive stress injury from wrist movements such as using a mouse for prolonged period of time.
- Repetitive stress injury from high speed or forceful finger movements such as typing without taking a break.
- Prolonged awkward wrist positions such as holding your baby without keeping the wrist in a neutral position.
- Prolonged firm grip or pressure on the palm such as playing golf for long hours or a narrow grip during tennis or other racquet sports.
Watch this video for some helpful tips to manage carpal tunnel syndrome.
Conventionally, doctors will usually prescribe painkillers and nerve relaxants in mild to moderate cases and suggest surgery in severe cases. However the mainstay of treatment is physiotherapy. Most patients with carpal tunnel syndrome can recover with proper physiotherapy treatment. However if the initial symptoms are ignored and the conditions become chronic it will take longer for them to resolve and settle down.
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