What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

From musicians to graphic designers carpal tunnel can affect so many people who work significantly with their hands, or as old age approaches. With its prevalence, few understand what it is or how it can affect their lives.

What is a carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel is an agonizing condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist. It may be caused by frequent repetitive actions or by fluid retention. To be frank, this is a condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and arms.

The condition happens when one of the important nerves to the hand called the median nerve, is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. This is the main nerve in the hand and its origin is a collection of nerve roots that are found within the neck. All of these routes combine to form alone nerve inside the arm which consequently passes through the wrist and goes into the hand.

Luckily, early symptoms can be dismissed with simple procedures such as wearing a wrist strap or avoiding certain activities that may worsen the condition.

How can carpal tunnel affect you?

This is a muscular weakness condition which can affect your everyday quality of life. Carpal tunnel can stop a person from doing day-to-day significant tasks at work which may even force them to select an alternative occupation. Fortunately, there are treatments that can assist people with carpal tunnel live regular lives. The team at Cranford House Plastic Surgery can easily aid people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are the causes of carpal tunnel?

Studies show that women alongside older people are more likely to develop this condition. A mixture of factors can contribute to causing this condition. Pregnancy can cause swelling, as well as repetitive hand use. Repeating the same hand or wrist motions may aggravate tendons and increase pressure on the nerve.  It can also be known to be heredity as some individuals may have smaller carpal tunnels which affect the amount of space surrounding the nerve. All of these factors contribute to the carpal tunnel in the wrist being tightened or the tissues surrounding specific tendons swelling, consequently enlisting pressure on the median nerve.

How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

Tingling or numbness in the fingers, as well as shocking sensations that emit through the fingers, can be signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.

This tingling can also go up the forearm and you may experience a weakness in your hands. If you struggle to perform fine actions such as opening a cap of a bottle and dropping objects due to this weakness, you may have this condition. These symptoms may vary in the beginning and as the condition worsens they appear more intensely and repeatedly.  Holding something for an extended time such as a book while you read, may cause symptoms to arise. Moving your hands may help these symptoms.

What occupations or hobbies place you at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Occupations that require extensive use of the fine muscle movements in the hands, as well as high- intensity time limits, may place you at risk of carpal tunnel. A few occupations such as these may cause carpal tunnel:

  • Assembly line worker
  • Sewer or knitter
  • Baker
  • Cashier
  • Hairstylist
  • Musician

What are the potential treatment options available?

The first point of call that Dr Quoc Lam may recommend is that your hand be placed in a splint and anti-inflammatory medications be taken. If this treatment doesn’t prove successful then surgery may need to be considered. The aim of the surgery is to remove the tissue that is placing the pressure on the nerve. The success of the surgery will be dependent on the severity of the case and how long you have been suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. If you would like to book an appointment with Dr Lam to discuss treating your carpal tunnel syndrome give us a call on 08 7070 0596.

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