Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Hello Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) sufferer,
The Carpal Tunnel Institute has searched the world over for the best means of treating this painful affliction. After sifting through a number of options, we believe those we have listed to be the most effective to treat your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Our goal is to find the treatment option that’s right for you, before surgery is your only option. Once you get Carpal Tunnel release surgery, other treatments lose their effectiveness. We also felt we had to come forward with what exactly Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is before we discuss those treatments that were among the most popular.
Now, let’s take a look at what causes the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that generates this wrist pain or discomfort you may be feeling. Your wrist joint is made up of 8 very small bones called “carpals.” There is a narrow passageway through the carpals in your wrist, and this passageway is called the “carpal tunnel,” pretty simple right? This carpal tunnel is just big enough for a large nerve to pass through known as the “median nerve,” and this nerve is responsible for most of the feeling you have in your hands, palms, and fingers. The median nerve travels from your forearm, through the wrist, and into the palm of your hand. Those 8 carpals in your hand are surrounded by muscle and connective tissue, and just like any other part of your body, overusing them can cause stress, tension, and swelling which in turn, will squeeze those 8 carpals together. If you get too much pressure on those carpals, it will cause your carpal tunnel to shrink, applying pressure and causing rubbing on your median nerve.
All of this pressure and rubbing can cause severe pain and discomfort, this discomfort is one of the symptoms of your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Plain and simple, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is pressure on the nerve in your wrist caused by the swelling of the muscles due to the overuse of them. This is why it is also called a “repetitive stress injury.” Though that is a broader term that can apply to other joints in the body as well, whereas Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the more isolated term for your wrists. Other health issues can increase the chances of, or amplify the effect of, CTS. Things like diabetes or pregnancy are good examples due to the fact that they already restrict the circulation in joints and arteries. It is even possible for a tumor or cyst on the ligaments to be associated to causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome just by narrowing the Carpal Tunnel that is in your wrist.
Some of the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are things like numbing and/or pain in the hands, wrists, forearm, or even as possible as traveling up to the shoulder. The symptoms can typically be more severe at night or in the morning, this is generally due to the fluid build up in the joints creating even more pressure than is applied to the Carpal Tunnel throughout the day. These symptoms can progress gradually over weeks, months, or even years. If left untreated, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can get as severe as atrophy, or wasting, in the muscle tissue and deterioration in the median nerve, which slows nerve impulses making a loss of feeling, strength, and coordination in the hand. It can even get to the point of complete loss of function in the hand.
In the United States, 5% of the population suffer effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Women have shown to be 3X more likely to suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than men, especially with older age. Most cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome actually occur to people of older age. Less than 10% of carpal tunnel sufferers are under the age of 30. Some cases of CTS can be amplified or caused by other health related things. Diabetes can commonly be accompanied by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to the constriction of the vessels and decrease in blood flow. Pregnancy can even bring on the effects of CTS due to the increase in fluids and swelling in the body. With pregnancy however, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can resolve itself. The most common risk factors that may bring on CTS are work place related or just the repetitive overuse of the joint. Even basic anatomy and genetics can be contributing factors. Some people are just born with a slightly more narrow carpal tunnel.
There are multiple ways to determine if what you have is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You should always first look at the specific symptoms. The median nerve doesn’t provide sensation in the little finger so if you have pain traveling there, then there may be another contributing factor. Gripping or holding items are known to amplify the discomfort brought on by CTS. You should even look into the possibility of getting it genetically. Try to find out if any other members of your family suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There is even a slew of anatomic possibilities that may contribute to CTS. People who have a more square shaped wrist have been found to be more prone than people with the more common rectangular shaped wrist. If you feel like what you are experiencing could be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, then your next step should be a physical exam from a doctor. From there they may determine what you have is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or they may possibly run other tests such as X-rays to eliminate the possibility of it being arthritis or even a bone fracture, an electromyogram to determine if there has been muscle damage, or even a blood test to see if it could be related to other possible health problems.
So from here, your next step is finding the right treatment method for your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and that is exactly what we are here to help you with. Let’s get started, you can review any of the methods in our menus. You can also visit our sponsor The Carpal Tunnel Institute.