syndrome has received much media attention in recent years. Still,
there appears to be some confusion about the definition of the
ailment and how it is diagnosed.
The greater one's understanding of carpal tunnel syndrome, the
more likely it is that one can receive appropriate treatment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the median nerve, which
stretches from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or
squeezed at the wrist.
This is significant because the median nerve controls sensations
to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to
some of the muscles in the hand that permit the fingers and thumb to
The median nerve rests inside a tunnel in the hand whose floor
and walls are made up of bones know as carpal bones. The roof of the
tunnel is a structure known as the transverse carpal ligament.
In addition to the nerve, there are nine tendons which move the
fingers and thumb that pass through the tunnel. When the lining
around the tendons becomes inflamed, there is less space for the
nerve and it becomes compressed. The compression of the nerve gives
rise to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include
numbness and tingling in the hand, often occurring at night. Those
afflicted also frequently complain of pain and weakness in the hand,
especially the thumb.
If the condition is untreated, it can lead to atrophy of the
muscles in the base of the thumb.
A few years ago, you might not have heard about carpal tunnel
syndrome. Now, the phrase is commonly heard around office coolers,
as secretaries, receptionists, and other office workers complain of
But what are the real causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome tends to be associated with certain tasks
involving the hands. These include repetitive hand motions, awkward
hand positions, strong gripping, mechanical stress on the palm, and
There are a number of occupations and job tasks which have been
linked with carpal tunnel syndrome. For instance, a tailor or
garment worker might develop the syndrome from grasping and tugging
fabric or pulling cloth.
A farmer could develop it milking cows, or an assembly line
worker might experience it handling objects on a conveyor belt.
Mechanics have been known to develop it pushing down a ratchet or
using a screw driver, while gardeners can experience it from hand
A common aspect that turns a typical activity into one that can
develop into carpal tunnel syndrome is the lack of frequent, short,
rests. It is the constant stress over an extended length of time
that creates the inflammation that leads to the syndrome.
Here are those highly recommended carpal tunnel syndrome
treatments by orthopedic doctors:
* Physical therapy techniques include ultrasound, hydrotherapy
and stretching. Ultrasound uses high- pitched sound waves to create
heat that helps decrease pain in the soft tissues. Hydrotherapy
involves immersing the wrist in both hot and cold water for three
minutes to increase circulation to the wrist. Stretching the hands
before work will help prepare for repetitive movements.
* In mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, rest and wearing a
splint at night may be enough to relieve symptoms. Splints keep the
wrist from bending and prevent pressure on the median nerve. These
are designed for different purposes such as for particular jobs or
for wearing at night. It is most effective if they are used as soon
as symptoms are noticed.
* Retraining is learning new ways of doing things. Ergonomic
considerations is having your body in the correct posture and
position and using equipment that is right for your strength and
ability. Both retraining and ergonomic considerations may not only
relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome but also may prevent
them from coming back.
There are also complementary and alternative carpal tunnel
syndrome treatments that are sometimes used to nurse tingling,
numbness, weakness and pain of the fingers and hands. They are as
* Acapuncture has been suggested as a useful carpal tunnel
treatment. It is commonly used, the U.S. National Institutes of
Health is currently studying the effectiveness of acupuncture for
treating such disorder.
* Yoga can be beneficial in relieving pain and improving grip
strength in the hand. One study showed that yoga was more effective
than wrist splinting.
* Chiropractic involves realignment of joints and bones by
twisting, pulling or pushing movements in the wrist and in the
forearm, upper arm, shoulder, upper back and neck.
* Vitamin B6 can also be of big help in carpal tunnel treatments.
However, small studies have revealed mixed results. High doses of it
can cause neuropathy so consult first your doctor before taking
When following these treatments to control Carpal Tunnel
Syndrome, be sure to adhere strictly to the guidelines prescribed by
your doctor for each one.