Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes and Treatments

Monday, 10 Feb 2014 03:13 AM

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Do you sense excessive pain in your wrists even when you are at rest? Do you wake up from sleep because of pain in your wrist?
 
Exuding pain in the wrist, painful inflammation of the wrist, intermittent numbness of the thumb, index finger and ring finger, pain radiating to the arm, tingling feeling, and increased wrist pain at night are some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
 
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the space in the carpal tunnel in the wrist is constricted, exerting pressure on the median nerve.
 
In most cases, pain of the wrist in carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with home therapies and exercise. However, when such treatments fail, surgery is often performed for carpal tunnel syndrome to restore space in the carpal tunnel and remove the strain on the median nerve.

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Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused due to various risk factors and conditions. In most cases, physical work that exerts pressure on the wrist is also one of the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Obesity and diabetes are possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome as they tend to exert pressure on the median nerve.
  • Hypothyroidism is one of the causes associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes carpal tunnel syndrome, since it affects the wrist joint and could lead to lymph and fluid accumulation in the carpel tunnel.
  • Pregnancy has been reported to be one of the common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome since it can lead to increased tissue growth/density and fluid accumulation in the carpel tunnel that causes strain of the median nerve.
  • Heavy manual work involving the use of hands and wrists are other causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Using vibrating tools with hands causes carpal tunnel syndrome over a period of time.
  • Presence of tumors such as lymphomas and ganglion in the wrist also causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery and Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome aim at controlling inflammation in the wrist, reducing wrist pain, and preventing nerve and muscle damage in the wrist and hand.
  • Wrist splint: It is commonly noted that carpal tunnel syndrome becomes worse when the wrist twists and encounters flexion. Hence, wearing a wrist splint is one of the early treatments that prevents further inflammation and prevents displacement even while sleeping.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Along with other treatments, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could be taken to reduce wrist pain while controlling inflammation in carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Corticosteroids: When wrist pain and inflammation of the wrist are severe in carpal tunnel syndrome, corticosteroids may be injected into the carpal tunnel to provide pain relief by controlling inflammation.
  • Avoiding stressful work: Along with taking treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to ensure that daily activities are performed such that they do not exert much strain on the wrist joint.
  • Surgery: When other treatments are not effective in alleviating wrist pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery is performed to remove a portion of the ligament covering the carpal tunnel. Such surgery helps increase the space in the carpal tunnel and removes any strain that was previously being exerted on the median nerve. Surgery is the last alternative in treatments suggested for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, surgery is one of the effective treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome that has progressed over time.

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