- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Finding Relief From Carpal Tunnel
Finding Relief From Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful disorder of the wrist and hand. CTS strikes when tissues in the carpal tunnel such as ligaments and tendons become swollen or inflamed and press against the median nerve. The symptoms can be pain, numbness and a tingling sensation like loss of circulation.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel formed by the bones and wrist tissues which protects the median nerve.
The specific causes of CTS are not fully known. However it is recognized, repetitive hand movements can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. The condition is common in people whose jobs require extensive hand movement and is treated easier the sooner it has been diagnosed. Computer operators, carpenters, grocery checkers, assembly-line workers, meat packers, mechanics and people in like professions are especially prone.
CTS can also be caused by medical problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or a wrist fracture. Other causes could include diseases such as diabetes or thyroid problems. It is also known to be progressive, meaning it usually gets worse with time. In some cases the pain and swelling can progress to the point individuals may be severely hindered in accomplishing daily routine tasks.
Hobbies such as gardening, needlework and golfing can also bring on symptoms. Some specialists also believe it may be hereditary. You should consult a doctor to determine if you have CTS.
If it is determined you suffer from CTS, what can you do to find relief? It has been recommended to stop any activities causing the situation. However, that might not be a viable option to those whose lively hoods are the cause of the problem. So what are some other alternatives?
A splint can help ease the pain, especially at night. Using ice packs on your wrist to reduce swelling, massaging the area and doing stretching exercises may also help. Other remedies include over the counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and analgesic creams. In severe cases, an injection of a corticosteroid may be used, which reduces inflammation and pain.
There are many products on the market which claim to ease symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome such as a wrist rest. No one has proven these products prevent wrist problems. Some say they’ve been helped after using these products. But on the other hand, (no pun intended) others’ may have increased pain and numbness or experience no change at all. It has also been suggested some suffers have gained relief using a chiropractor.
So, you’ve done all the above and the condition persists. Now what? The final option is corrective surgery. But this can also prove inconvenient. Surgery requires cutting the ligament pressing on the median nerve. Healing time can range from a few weeks to several months. Your doctor will probably prescribe a regimen of finger exercises which will be important to adhere to.
Suffers with type 1 diabetes are at a further disadvantage. Doctors usually balk at performing surgery since some may not heal normally following the procedure.
A common question of people who are still afflicted by CTS is the subject of disability. Is it possible to receive disability? It’s not impossible, but would be difficult to say the least. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has been classified as a “fixable” condition, therefore in most cases would not meet the qualifications. If you are considering filing a claim for disability it would be wise to consult an agency specializing in these types of claims. They should be easily found using your search engine.