Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel is a condition that is usually associated with certain careers. Usually, working with computers or tools that vibrate, repetitive wrist motions or a job that requires a strong grip. However, carpal tunnel syndrome is not always the result of a specific job. In fact, other health conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, some risk factors include obesity, pregnancy, and rheumatoid arthritis. Once developed, carpal tunnel will never fully go away but there are ways to decrease the symptoms. This week we’ll go into depth about carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
In the beginning, the signs of carpal tunnel may be faint and hard to diagnose. Many times symptoms get overlooked because they are not constant and only happen every once in awhile. But, as the condition worsens so will the frequency and the intensity of symptoms. Most commonly, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome start as tingling or numbness in the thumb or forefinger. Interestingly, the little finger is not affected. Another common symptom some people experience is an “electric shock” feeling up their arm. Usually, that feeling occurs when gripping a steering wheel or talking on the phone. Also, sometimes the shock feeling is bad enough to wake you up at night. Over time, and especially without treatment, that numb feeling can become constant.
Additionally, someone with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience weakness in the hands. Without proper treatment, the muscles in your thumb can atrophy. During the day symptoms are not usually as bad, but when the lights go out people suffer. If you have any of the sign or symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it couldn’t hurt just to see your doctor. Many of the symptoms worsen over time without getting proper treatment. Catching carpal tunnel syndrome early is the best way to ensure the least amount of pain and discomfort.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes
Unfortunately, being at risk for carpal tunnel is sometimes out of our hands, no pun intended. The condition can actually be hereditary, thanks, mom and dad! But, most of the time the cause of carpal tunnel is unknown. Like we stated earlier, it can be the result of weight (obesity), pregnancy, arthritis, or other conditions like diabetes and hypothyroidism. The reason people acquire carpal tunnel syndrome is that there is pressure applied to the median nerve. The median nerve is what provides sensation to basically your entire hand, minus the little finger.
Ways to Prevent Carpal Tunnel
If you are predisposed to getting carpal tunnel syndrome, there is really nothing you can do to prevent it. That doesn’t mean that you will most definitely get carpal tunnel, but these preventative measures most likely won’t help all that much. The most common work-related cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is repeated motions over a long period of time. For that reason, consider using equipment that is ergonomically correct and taking breaks often. While not proven, some people believe that B vitamins can aid in the prevention of carpal tunnel. In addition, stretching of the hand throughout your day is good for prevention as well.