Carpal Tunnel

Tingling of Carpal Tunnel.

In our hands there is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand, this is known as the carpal tunnel. Now carpal tunnel syndrome is when there is a numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. There is a low risk of carpal tunnel considering there are many ways to prevent it however it’s important to know the causes as well. 

Carpal tunnel is caused when there is pressure placed on the median nerve which is a passageway in the wrist. There are a good amount of risk factors that play a hand in your hand. It can range from repeated motions at work to even doing things in the cold. Below is a list of other possible risk factors. 

  • Bone fracture 
  • Bone dislocation 
  • Arthritis 
  • Sex – females are prone to getting carpal tunnel more often than men because the carpal tunnel area in their hand is smaller than a male 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Diabetes 
  • Medications 
  • Obesity 
  • Other conditions include menopause, thyroid disorders, kidney failure 

The risk factors may seem high however there is some prevention one can take to prevent carpal tunnel. The first being to reduce the force you put on your hands. Specially men in construction tend to stress out their hands and wrists by using force on their tools. This may not be easy to do so taking frequent breaks in between tasks to stretch and bend your wrist can drastically help. It is noted to also be on the lookout for one’s posture to be correct. For example, when we slouch it shortens our neck and shoulder muscles.

In some cases, obtaining a carpal tunnel is bound to happen. However, there are some forms of treatment available. To start there is the use of wrist braces, corticosteroids and even surgery. Wrist braces help people with moderate symptoms. It is suggested to wear the brace when sleeping and during some tasks. Corticosteroids are more commonly known as “steroids” which help relieve the pain.  

Now let’s talk about if surgery is needed. 

Surgery is usually needed once a carpal tunnel occurs too long. This is because eventually the muscles in your hand and wrist begin to weaken which causes problems for everyday hand movements. Earlier we talked about construction workers so imagine how heavy and hard it would become to use a wrench when your hand feels tingly and weak. It would not be an easy task. Surgery is usually the last result once someone has tried the wrist brace, steroids and change of hand movement behavior. If the effects of carpal tunnel occur for three to six months, then a doctor suggests undergoing surgery. There are two different types of surgeries one can choose from, open surgery and endoscopic surgery. 

Open surgery – A large cut or incision is done two inches up from one’s wrist to palm 

Endoscopic surgery – The doctor makes an incision in your wrist and possibly arm. From there the doctor will place a tiny camera in the incision to guide them along as they cut the ligament. Due to the incision being about half an inch the healing process is a lot faster than with open surgery. 

Although surgery options are available some people with severe cases tend to sometimes feel the effects of carpal tunnel while milder cases don’t feel anything ever again. What is important is to just never forget that the effort you put in is how much relief you can possibly get back. 

Gliding Exercises for Carpal Tunnel:

  1. Start by putting wrist in a neutral position.
  1. Make a fist with your thumb tucked in facing yourself.
  1. Put your fingers and thumb straight, then bed your wrist to have your palm straight up.
  1. Extend thumb away from hand.
  1. Keep hand and fingers in the same place but rotate your wrist so that your palm faces away from you.
  1. In this position gently pull down your thumb with your other hand. 
  1. Hold each position for roughly 5 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times. 

Written by Kaitlyne Piper

References:

https://www.schreibermd.com/carpal-tunnel-excercises

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/carpal-tunnel-syndrome

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/physical-therapy-for-carpal-tunnel-syndrome

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603

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