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Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Updated on August 17, 2009

Carpal Tunnel Treatment

The available options for carpal tunnel treatment can provide a “sigh of relief” for people who have suffered (or are suffering) with this condition. For those who may not be aware, carpal tunnel syndrome is basically a case of a pinched nerve that affects movement, mobility, and strength in the hand and fingers. There is a long nerve in your arm known as the “median nerve” that runs from your forearm all the way into your hand, and what happens with carpal tunnel syndrome is basically the median nerve gets pinched or squeezed right at the wrist area. The causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are various, but some of the most commonly reported causes are any type of motion that is repetitious, arthritis, or injury of some sort. The pain is often reported to be felt as a sharp, shooting type of pain that can extend from the elbow to the fingertips, and some have described it as a “jolt” or like a “bolt of lightning” going through your lower arm. The pain can also be accompanied by numbness, weakness of the hand (i.e., it’s difficult to clench your fist or do any type of motions that require more specific motor skills), or a tingling sensation in the fingers or hand. The carpal tunnel is basically an area at the base of the hand (closest to the wrist) that provides a passageway for the median nerve to go through from the forearm to the actual hand. Since the median nerve is surrounded by tendons, ligaments and bone, if there is any type of inflammation or swelling due to injury, arthritis, or otherwise, it can cause the median nerve to be compressed, or to put it more simply, “pinched”. This pressure upon the median nerve is the culprit for the sharp, shooting pain that is felt throughout the hand, fingers, and forearm. Many people have claimed that repetitive motions from typing, using a computer mouse, or other type of common physical movements from administrative-type jobs can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, but that has yet to be substantiated by enough empirical scientific evidence. I personally believe that there probably is a connection between the two, but hey, I’m a dude writing HubPages, not a physician. I remember recently talking to my sister about the pain and discomfort that she was experiencing in her wrists, and I asked her if she thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome. She said that she did; she has a data entry job where she does a tremendous amount of keying every single day. I was talking to her to see if she would want to play tennis with me, because we used to have epic tennis battles a few years ago, but recently both of us have been too busy to play. She told me that she can hardly even grip a tennis racket anymore due to the pain; it was a very sad thing to hear. One of the primary symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is a sense of weakness in the hand or fingers, making it difficult to do tasks that involve grabbing or grasping, or any type of motion that requires hand strength to accomplish. Overall, it completely sucks because it can make you feel out of control of your own body, and of course the pain is no easy thing to deal with either.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

Carpal Tunnel Treatment Options

One of the things that I found fascinating in doing my research on carpal tunnel syndrome is that the tendons surrounding the median nerve are lubricated with a substance called synovium, which acts as a membrane surrounding those tendons. The synovium can swell due to a number of various factors, and once the swelling takes place, the tendons closest to the median nerve can begin to put pressure on the median nerve, causing the physical discomfort known as carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS for the acronym-minded. So the real question becomes then, what type of relief or treatment is offered for carpal tunnel syndrome? There are a couple of options on the table at present, and each method has its heralds and its critics. One of the available treatment methods is carpal tunnel release surgery, which is basically where you have to go “under the knife” and get an incision made in the wrist area for the purpose of moving the ligaments farther away from the median nerve, giving it more “breathing room”, so to speak, and not experiencing the pressure to the same degree. Others prefer a non-invasive (non-surgical) approach such as wrist splints or wrist braces, to limit the range of motion of the wrist and possibly prevent the swelling or other factors that can put pressure on the median nerve. Another important thing to mention is the need for preventative measures to be implemented; it is vital that people who are suffering from symptoms of CTS begin to be aware of avoiding motions that cause the wrist to have to move in side-to-side extremes or up-and-down extremes. Other types of adjustments that are important to make are making sure that you use correct arm and wrist posture at the keyboard (i.e., your forearms should stay parallel to the desk). Another thing that I’ve heard commonly mentioned for measures you can take is to make sure that when you’re typing, your wrists should be above your fingers instead of your fingers rising higher than your wrists. At the end of the day, a multi-pronged approach to carpal tunnel treatment is probably the best route, along with some good advice from a qualified physician.


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