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The Early Sympoms And Treatment Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Updated on March 23, 2011

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has a variety of causes. It may be the result of an old injury such as a bad sprain, or break. It may appear in those suffering from diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and diabetes. Carpal Tunnel most commonly appears in those who, with repetitive motions, constantly use or over use their hands Such individuals may be cashiers, computer operators, musicians, mechanics, carpenters and even knitters and crafters. Often the cause is unknown.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has numerous symptoms, all of them unpleasant. You may suffer one, more, or all of them. One or both wrists may be painful, with the pain radiating into the palm and lower arm. The pain may increase during the night or seem dormant during the night and worse in the morning. Pain is generally at its worst when the hands are in use. In addition to the pain, there may be swelling, stiffness, and an unpleasant tingling sensation. Sufferers may feel weakness in the area, and find it difficult to grasp items firmly.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an increasingly painful and debilitating condition. It is caused when the median nerve which passes through the Carpal Tunnel is unduly compressed while in the tunnel. The tunnel itself is surrounded by bone, tissue, tendon, and ligament. If, for any reason, this area becomes inflamed, the median nerve feels this inflamed pressure and pain, stiffness, tingling, and even numbness may result.

If you suspect you may have this condition, visit your physician for an accurate diagnosis. You may be given a nerve conduction test. Some doctors, by simply bending and manipulating your wrist, will be able to bring on all the symptoms. Increasing pressure in the area around the nerve will cause sudden shock-like symptoms to radiate outwards.

Once you have been diagnosed, treatment can begin. Depending on the severity of your condition, as well as other conditions you may have, and medications you may be taking, treatment will vary. Discuss this with your doctor and report back regularly with the results you are having as well as any additional symptoms that may appear.

Resting the affected area completely will always help, at least temporarily. This is not always possible if your continued employment depends on your manual dexterity.

A physiotherapist may advise you how you could hold your arms, hands, and tools, differently to reduce pressure. A physiotherapist may also prescribe an exercise routine for your hands. To be of benefit this must be done religiously.

Regular timed breaks during a work activity might be advised. This may be difficult if you are employed.

Stretching out your fingers while you hold your hands at your sides may help.

Cold compresses, used as advised, may help with the pain.

Massage can be tried. Some individuals find it very helpful.

Sleeping with the affected limb raised on a pillow may help.

Anti-inflammatory medications may be advised.

Wrist splints, properly fitted, are often helpful.

It is worth trying any reasonable solution to relieve your symptoms.

If, after trying all these methods, you have failed to get sufficient lasting relief, and the severity of your symptoms continues to increase, more drastic measures may be needed. Are you willing or even able to give up the activity that is contributing to, if not causing, your symptoms? If this is not possible, your physician may suggest surgery.

As with all surgeries, carpal tunnel surgery carries risks. Even after surgery, there may be some residual pain and stiffness. Your physician will discuss any other risks with you. I had surgery on both wrists and am happy to say that I regained total use in just a few short weeks. I have no pain or stiffness whatsoever and only very faint scars to remind me of the months of pain, stiffness and increasing numbness that eventually made my hands almost useless.


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    • Drwibble profile image

      Drwibble 7 years ago from UK

      Some good information here, I suffered pain in my wrist last year due to cycling (hit a pothole to hard). It took ages to get better due to have to use a computer at work and still needing to cycle. I found that I could apply any force when I needed to twist my wrist. However, a year later it has healed up nicely.

    • profile image

      doodlebugs 7 years ago

      Thanks for the great hub about this common condition that is affecting so many of us.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Sounds like good advice, billips. I hope I never get it.

    • billips profile image

      billips 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for reading and commenting - you may be quite right - typing is on of the most problematic activities - you see more and more people at computers and cash registers wearing braces on their wrists - hope some of the measures help you - regards, B.

    • UPStar profile image

      UPStar 7 years ago

      thx for this. I think I may have the beginning stages of carpal tunnel. I should try some of the easy treatments. its all this typing! LOL