About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Every day, assembly workers, keyboard operators, grocery store clerks, and many others receive micro-traumas to their hands and wrists. Vibration and repetitive motions can result in a condition known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a compression neuropathy of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel which is the channel on the palm side of the wrist formed on the side by the semi-circular arrangement of the bones of the wrist and on the other by the carpal ligament. Running through the tunnel are the tendons used to move the fingers and wrist and the median nerve, which is one of two nerves providing both sensation and motor function in the hand.

The structure of the carpal tunnel leaves very little room for expansion so swelling of the tissue in or around the carpal tunnel can press on the median nerve and cause the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms include aching, tingling, pins and needles, burning, numbness, or pain in the hand and in the digits served by the median nerve the thumb, the index and middle fingers, and part of the ring finger. In time, symptoms can spread to the arm and shoulder. It affects about 1 in 100 people at some point in their life. Men and women of any age can develop it, but it is most common in women ages 30 to 60.

These symptoms tend to be worse at night or first thing in the morning and are often aggravated by strenuous wrist movements. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect one or both hands, and the severity of the symptoms can vary. The symptoms may be mild or only occur from time to time. As the condition worsens, symptoms may become constant. The hand muscles may become weakened, making it difficult to grip objects, and there may be permanent loss of feeling. Fine finger movements, such as writing, may become more difficult.

Some ways of detecting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
 A thorough examination by you physician can deteremine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Have someone try to pull your thumb and finger apart. If your fingers seem weak, your problem could be related to a carpal tunnel problem.  
  If placing your hands back to back produces an increase in numbness, tingling or pain, you could have a carpal tunnel problem.
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