Carpal tunnel syndrome
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Do you feel a burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of your hand and thumb, or index and middle fingers? Do you feel wrist pain, particularly at night? Is pain radiated or referred into the arm and shoulder? Do you feel weakness in your hand? If you answered YES, probably carpal tunnel syndrome is the problem. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on nerves that run through the wrist. As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, you may begin to notice weakness in the thumb and first two fingers, and it may be difficult to make a fist or grasp objects.
Having carpal tunnel syndrome, we recommend using a PEMFT (pulsed electro-magnetic field therapy device, UltiCare LT99. The therapy may last for several weeks. We recommend UltiCare LT99 for its analgesic effect (against pain), as well as positive cell stimulation and anti-swelling effects.
What is the carpal tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow, small space in the wrist, which opens into the hand. It is surrounded by the bones of the wrist. The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel and gives feeling to the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is narrow and rigid, anytime there is swelling or inflammation in the area, the median nerve can be compressed and cause pain. Symptoms may be present in one or both hands, usually symptoms develop in the dominant hand first. Most likely the disorder is due to a congenital predisposition - the carpal tunnel is simply smaller in some people than in others.
Other contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture; overactivity of the pituitary gland; hypothyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis; mechanical problems in the wrist joint; work stress; repeated use of vibrating hand tools; fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause; or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also occur in pregnant women due to an excessive amount of liquids in tissues. A splint helps to immobilize the wrist and to alleviate some of the symptoms.
Risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome
Women between the ages of 40 and 60 years, pregnant women, people with certain types of arthritis, people who use their hands repetitively in their day-to-day activities, such as typists or assembly line workers are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
The treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
We prefer non-surgical therapy to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, including plenty of rest for the affected area, physiotherapy and/or electromagnetic stimulation and wearing splints on the affected wrist and hand at night.
The sooner you start treatment of carpal tunnel, the better your chances of stopping carpal tunnel symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve. The basic cause is treated, if possible. Obese patients have to be encouraged to lose weight, those with hypothyreosis should be getting substitute hormonal treatment.
Surgery is one treatment option for carpel tunnel syndrome. The surgeon makes an incision (cut) less than 5 cm long in your palm, and perhaps into the wrist as well, to expose the transverse carpal ligament. The surgeon then cuts the ligament to reduce pressure on the underlying median nerve. The incision in the palm is sutured (sewn) closed.
Can carpal tunnel be prevented?
Though there is no definitive way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, good posture, ergonomic tools and workstations, stretching hands and wrists regularly, taking frequent rest breaks to shake arms and legs, lean back, and change position throughout the work day can help.