Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a medical condition caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This is one of the most widespread occupational injuries in North America. It affects around one in twenty adults and tends to afflict women more than men. The primary cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is excessive involvement in activities that make extensive and repetitive uses of the wrist. the patient can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by changing the way (s)he uses the wrist to perform these functions. He or she can achieve further carpal tunnel prevention by following an exercise program that will strengthen the hand and wrist muscles. There is some evidence that the incidence of this condition may correlate with that of diabetes.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers. Some patients may also experience these symptoms in the thumb side of the ring finger. These symptoms generally occur at night. The patient may also experience a reduction in gripping strength.
After a period, the condition may result in muscle wastage at the base of the thumb.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The risk of developing carpal tunnel is increased by extensive computer usage, working with vibrating tools or work that requires the maintenance of a strong grip.
Other causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include health conditions like hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity. Pregnancy can also be a factor in some cases.
Individuals can reduce the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel by avoiding holding the hands or wrists continually in the same position over an extended period of time. Instead, he or she can organize the work routine so that the hand and/or wrist positions are changing every 10-15 minutes, for example.
Changing the sitting posture can sometimes help. The patient can avoid rolling his or her shoulder forward. The reason is that this can sometimes force the hands and wrists into positions that increase the risk of carpal tunnel.
Another way to achieve carpal tunnel prevention is to follow a program of stretching and/or strengthening exercises for the hand/wrist. Please see the info-graph to the left for more information. You can click on the diagram to zoom in and read it.