Carpal-tunnel syndrome is classified as a nerve disorder that causes pain, a loss of strength, and loss of feelings in the hands. When carpal tunnel syndrome presents, it typically affects the thumbs and the first few fingers on the hand. In some instances, however, carpal-tunnel has been known to only affect the last two fingers. Carpal-tunnel syndrome can affect either males or females, and can occur at any age. However, the condition typically develops sometime between the age of 30 and 60. Carpal-tunnel syndrome can be caused as a result of medical conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes. Carpal-tunnel syndromealso occurs as a direct result of chronic overuse of the hand and in occupations that require a large amount of repetitive hand movement such as writing or working at a computer for long periods of time.
Symptoms Of Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome
Since Carpal-tunnel syndrome affects solely the hands, any symptoms experienced will be centralized within the hand. In some cases, usually in more severe cases, symptoms will travel from the hands and extend up the arms.
Some common symptoms of carpal tunnel are sharp pains that run from the hand up the arm (these often occur at night, when sleeping.), tingling sensation in the hands, numbness in the fingers,morning stiffness, weakness in the thumbs, and the inability to make a fist or squeeze the hands. The symptoms are often made worse by doing activities such as writing, typing, or any other repetitive hand movement.
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Your doctor will first perform a normal set of tests when diagnosing carpal-tunnel syndrome. These include an inquiry into your health, any injuries you many have sustained, and in some cases, a nerve conduction study. After these tests are done, the first step in treatment is a form of conservative therapy. This includes physical therapy and exercises you can do at home to strengthen the muscles. You also may be required to wear a wrist brace while doing activities that cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
If conservative therapy doesn’t work, or the carpal tunnel is too severe and beyond the scope of the standard therapeutic techniques, surgery could be required. This helps free the pinched nerve and is a fairly simple and common procedure. This is followed by physical therapy to help the patient rebuild strength in their hands.