Understanding the carpal syndrome and how it effects your daily life

Carpal tunnel syndrome is basically a pinched nerve in the wrist. There is a narrow space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and other tendons known to be nine in quantity go through from the forearm into  the hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the swelling in the narrow space starts pinching the passing nerves

Causes of the carpal tunnel syndrome

Nerves in the carpal tunnel can get pinched in several ways such as;

  • Swelling of the covering of the flexor tendons also called Tenosynovitis
  • Joint dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Fluid build-up during pregnancy

The conditions discussed can confine carpal tunnel and cause swelling in the already confined space. Thyroid conditions, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can also give rise to carpal tunnel syndrome. Conclusively there are several conditions that may aggravate a carpal tunnel syndrome

Triggers and hallmarks

The common symptoms of the conditions include;

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weak grip
  • Occasional clumsiness
  • The tendency to drop things

 

The numbness, pain and sensation usually takes place in the thumb, index and ring fingers. The triggers are usually noted during the rest hours or night, however, you may also experience pain in the routinely activities such as driving or reading a newspaper. In the worst conditions sensation and strength are lost for a long time

Diagnosis of the carpal tunnel

Your physician will inquire about your medical conditions and prior medical history, how your daily activities involve the use of your hands and any previous injuries must be discussed with the physician for the diagnosis of the carpal tunnel syndrome. X-ray is helpful for diagnosis of fracture. In some cases, lab tests are necessary

Treatment

Symptoms may often be relieved without surgery.  Some treatment options are:

  • Changing patterns of hand use (helps reduce pressure on the nerve)
  • Keeping the wrist splinted in a straight position (helps reduce pressure on the nerve)
  • Wearing wrist splints at night (helps relieve symptoms that may prevent sleep)
  • Steroid injections into the carpal tunnel (helps reduce swelling around the nerve)

If the symptoms are severe and not improved by the non surgical methods, surgery may be recommended to relieve pressure from the nerve. Following surgery, soreness around the cut area may last for several weeks or months.  The numbness and tingling may disappear quickly or slowly.  Recovery may take several months.  Carpal tunnel symptoms may not completely go away after surgery, especially in severe cases.