Did you ever feel tingling or numbness in your arms? Did it get worse with time? If yes, you may have to consult a doctor immediately because you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
CTS may happen when a nerve in your wrist is pinched. It occurs due to pressure on the median nerve- which runs through the length of the arm, goes through a passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel and ends in hand.
In many instances, this is a result of a typical everyday activity that includes frequent use of vibrating hand tools, playing musical instruments or manual labor.
It may also be caused by health conditions like hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
How can I know if I have CTS?
These symptoms are seen in patients with CTS. The symptoms typically start gradually.
A burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm (hand) and thumb, or index and middle fingers.
Fingers may "fall asleep" and become numb during nights. That usually happens in the evening due to the relaxed position of your hand and while sleeping.
Waking up in the morning with numbness and tingling in your hands that may run to your shoulder.
Can I prevent CTS?
Yes, you can prevent CTS by following these tips-
What if I’m already experiencing the symptoms?
Consult the doctor immediately when you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. Once the condition is diagnosed, follow the below tips for managing CTS.
Take regular breaks- while typing, playing guitar, or doing any activity that involves using a hand. Set the alarm for every 15-20 minutes and when it rings, stop doing the work and wiggle your fingers, stretch fingers, and move your wrists and fingers to improve blood circulation to the hand.
Wear splints while sleeping- keeping the hands straight can help relieve the pressure (which usually happens during nights) on the median nerve, and wearing a splint helps in keeping the hand straight. Splints can also be worn during daytime if you have issues with repetitive tasks at work.
Stay warm as keeping your hands warm can help with pain and stiffness. Consider wearing gloves and/or use hand warmers for his.
Elevate your hands and wrists whenever possible- this tip is especially helpful if your CTS is due to pregnancy, fractures or other issues of fluid retention.
Wrist exercises- consider wrist exercises while waiting in a queue or sitting at your desk at work. Try this exercise- make a fist and then slide your fingers until they are straight again; repeat this for 5-10 times.
Try OTC medications for relieving pain like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Traditional treatments – the doctor may recommend corticosteroids that help in reducing pain and inflammation. This is particularly effective if inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis cause CTS.
Surgery- this is recommended if other treatment options don’t relieve pressure on the nerve. The surgery includes cutting the ligament involved as makes you feel better and prevents further damage to the nerve.
CTS can be painful and may affect your quality of life. So, if you have been experiencing symptoms for some time, consult the doctor to ask about ways that can help relieve the pain and pressure. Early diagnosis and treatment is an excellent way to prevent permanent nerve damage. If diagnosed with the condition, follow the above tips that can help manage the condition.
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