What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Its Causes?
Despite the fact that working from home is the most convenient way to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease, the current work-from-home standard has some drawbacks. Aside from the possibility of developing a mundane lifestyle, in which the line between work and home is blurred, several studies have noted that more people are developing carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of their work environment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome has become a problem for those who work in industries that require repeated movements of the fingers and wrist in past years. However, recent reports show a considerable increase in the number of persons diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, with the majority of these people working in industries that involve repetitive finger and wrist movements.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a frequent condition that affects the hand and wrist, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and paralysis. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the wrist, is subjected to increasing pressure. The thumb, index, and middle fingers, as well as half of the ring finger, are all supplied with sensation by this nerve. The pinky finger is usually unaffected.
Symptoms normally appear gradually and can strike at any time.
- Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers are the most common symptoms.
- Shock-like sensations in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers on occasion.
- Pain and a tingling sensation that travels up your arm
- Weakness—you might lose control of your hand and drop things. This could be caused by numbness in your hand or weakness in the pinching muscles of your thumb, which are likewise regulated by the median nerve.
- Dropping objects as a result of weakness, numbness, or a loss of proprioception.
The muscles at the base of the thumb visibly reduce in size in the most severe case (atrophy).
With certain wrist positions, the pressure in the carpal tunnel increases. Many people experience carpal tunnel symptoms at night as a result of sleeping with their wrists folded under their bodies. This position can exacerbate symptoms by increasing carpal tunnel pressure.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is most frequently caused by a number of factors. According to studies, women and the elderly are more likely to develop the disease.
Other risk factors that can be the reason in developing carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Repetitive use of the hands. Repeated use of the same hand and wrist motions or activities for an extended period of time may aggravate the tendons in the wrist, resulting in swelling and pressure on the nerve.
- Position of the hand and wrist. Prolonged use of activities that require excessive bending or extension of the hand or wrist can intensify pressure on the nerve.
- Pregnancy. Swelling can occur as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy and cause pinching the nerve.
- Heredity. This is most likely a significant factor. The carpal tunnel may be smaller in some individuals or anatomical differences may alter the amount of space available for the nerve—and these characteristics may run in families.
- Health problems. Carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance.
Typically, non-surgical treatments are sought first. Treatment begins with the following:
- Wearing a wrist splint at night can help with nighttime wrist pain.
- Ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).
- Injections with cortisone.
- Physical Therapy Rehabilitation
Other treatments concentrate on ways to alter your environment in order to alleviate symptoms. This is common in the workplace, where changes can be made to help alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome. These modifications could include:
- You can adjust the height of your chair by raising or lowering it.
- Adjust the position of your computer keyboard.
- Changing the position of your hand/wrist while performing activities.
- Utilizing a therapist’s recommended splints, exercises, and other treatments.
When non-surgical treatments are ineffective or when carpal tunnel syndrome has progressed to a severe state, surgery is recommended.
It is most beneficial to begin physical therapy as soon as possible after experiencing symptoms of many orthopedic conditions, such as CTS, in order to achieve the best results.
The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more chronic your condition could become and the less likely it is that you will have a successful result. In other words, if you are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, see your doctor right away and ask to be referred to a physical therapy clinic in your area.
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