Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most expensive of all work-related injuries with regards to time and money. It happens when the nerve in your wrist is compressed, causing numbness, tingling or burning in the hand. Although surgery is an option, many people would like to know about a simpler, more natural way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Women are 3 times more likely to develop CTS than men. The dominant hand is usually affected first, and the pain is typically severe. CTS is commonly seen in assembly-line workers involved in activities such as manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning, meatpacking, and similar industries. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, according to recent research, people who perform data entry at a computer (up to 7 hours a day) are not at increased risk of developing CTS.
What Is CTS?
CTS affects of the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand. CTS occurs when the median nerve gets compressed in the carpal tunnel—a narrow tunnel at the wrist—made up of bones and soft tissues, such as nerves, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. The compression may result in pain, weakness, and/or numbness in the hand and wrist, which radiates up into the forearm. CTS is the most common of the “entrapment neuropathies”—compression or trauma of the body’s nerves in the hands or feet.
What Are the Symptoms?
Burning, tingling, itching, and/or numbness in the palm of the hand and thumb, index, and middle fingers are most common. Some people with CTS say that their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent. Since many people sleep with flexed wrists, the symptoms often first appear while sleeping. As symptoms worsen, they may feel tingling during the day. In addition, weakened grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist or grasp small objects. Some people develop wasting of the muscles at the base of the thumb. Some are unable to distinguish hot from cold by touch.
Why Does CTS Develop?
Some people have smaller carpal tunnels than others, which makes the median nerve compression more likely. In others, CTS can develop because of an injury to the wrist that causes swelling, over-activity of the pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, mechanical problems in the wrist joint, poor work ergonomics, and repeated use of vibrating hand tools, fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause.
What Is The Best Carpal Tunnel Treatment Without Surgery?
Resting the affected hand and wrist.
Avoiding activities that may worsen symptoms.
Immobilizing the wrist in a splint to avoid further damage from twisting or bending.
Applying cool packs to help reduce swelling from inflammations.
Some studies have shown that vitamin B6 supplements may relieve CTS symptoms.
Manipulation and mobilization of the wrist and hand by a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching and strengthening exercises, soft-tissue mobilization techniques, has been shown to be helpful in some cases.
Occasionally, patients whose symptoms fail to respond to conservative care may require surgery. The surgeon releases the ligament covering the carpal tunnel. Proper posture and movement as instructed by your doctor of chiropractic can help prevent CTS recurrences.
Can CTS Be Prevented?
Perform on-the-job conditioning, such as stretching and light exercises.
Take frequent rest breaks.
Wear splints to help keep the wrists straight.
Use fingerless gloves to help keep the hands warm and flexible.
Use correct posture and wrist position.
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