It usually begins as a pain in the shoulder or wrist that is easily dismissed in the thumb. Slow but constant build up for a fun, tearing pain from the wrist to the fingers, sleepless nights, stiff days and a numb, but simultaneously irritated, useless hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful and disabling condition. It is very common
The carpal tunnel is a tunnel in the particle itself that is composed of bone structures, which are the base and wall, with ridges formed by a dense fibrous sheet called flexor retinaculum.
Through this tunnel, a bundle of nerves, blood vessels and tendons which are the cables of the hand supply. The syndrome is the result of pressure on the all-important median nerve that travels through this space-limited tunnel.
The median nerve supplies sensation and strength to the thumb, several fingers and part of the palm. Inflammation or increased fluid in the carpal tunnel is believed to exert pressure on this nerve due to which the disturbed symptoms experienced. Inflammation can occur for many reasons, for example in repetitive hand movements or pregnancy.
Who is at risk?
Account for carpal tunnel syndrome has been reported to have more days off work than some other business-related injury estimated to affect 7.8% of the working population in some US and a UK study estimates 120 women per An annual incidence of 100,000 for 60 men per 100,000
An audit performed in general practice in Australia has approximately 195,000 appointments per year with patients for carpal tunnel syndrome.
It begins to occur more commonly in women, especially during pregnancy. Although the mechanism is not clear, it is believed that the combination of hormonal factors as well as increasing fluid in the pregnant woman’s body increases the pressure in the carpal tunnel.
Although we may not be able to modify these aspects, there are risk factors that may be more worthy. Increased body mass index and obesity increases the risk of developing this syndrome, as does diabetes. Some data are also collaborative, requiring increased occupational exposure, particularly hands or repetitive wrist movement.
How do I know what I have?
Victims of carpal tunnel syndrome may feel a tingling or pain in their fingers or hands. It is often intermittent – just a nuisance – and then it gets worse. Victims may experience severe pain and numbness. Waking them up at night shaking hands can help to organize it, but not always. In its most serious state, the hand may be weak, it is difficult to hold things, lifting things out of the question
It is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor and you may need a nerve conduction study. This study involves testing the function of the nerve in your hand. It can be uncomfortable, but it is safe. More importantly, it tells you if your nerve is stuck in the tunnel. What can i do?
There are several options for treatment. A wrist bandage can be helpful; It supports your wrist and reduces trauma to the nerve. Various medications and local steroid injections can also be useful to help with pain.
If things do not improve, you can proceed to carpal tunnel release surgery. The goal of this procedure is to loosen the lid on the tunnel and remove the pressure on the nerve. This is not as scary as it sounds and most commonly performed hand surgery is still available via local anesthetic or endoscopic means (“key holes”).
Would it be better?
Severity has historically stimulated treatment. We often leave things until they have to be done, especially surgery.
However a poor outcome is associated with a longer duration of symptoms, especially at six months. If the nerve is too narrow, it may not recur despite surgery, so if your symptoms are persistent and start bothering you, talk to your local doctor.