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Carpal tunnel syndrome
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Carpal tunnel syndrome

In medicine, carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist causing, as symptoms, tingling, pain, and sometimes weakness in parts of the hand. It is commonly caused by strain placed on the hand, for instance gripping and typing, which are usually performed repetitively in a person's occupation.

The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, a canal in the wrist that is surrounded by bone on three sides, and a fibrous sheath (the flexor retinaculum) on the other. As well as the nerve, many of the hand's tendons pass through this canal. The median nerve can be compressed by swelling of the contents of the canal, or by direct pressure from part of a broken or dislocated bone.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, due to RSI results because the narrowed tunnel of bones and ligaments in the wrist pinches the nerves, especially the median nerve and, to a lesser extent, the ulnar nerve.

This syndrome is much more common in women than it is in men.

Table of contents
1 Symptoms
2 Causes
3 Treatment
4 Long Term Recovery
5 References
6 External links

Symptoms

The first symptoms usually appear at night. Symptoms range from a burning, tingling numbness in the fingers (especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers) to difficulty gripping or making a fist, to dropping things.

Causes

Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are due to work-related cumulative trauma of the wrist.

There are a number of causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. They can be either traumatic, or non-traumatic.

Traumatic causes include:

Non-traumatic causes, generally happen over a period of time, and are not triggered by one certain event. Examples include: Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by improper posture during repetitive activities such as: Proper attention to ergonomic considerations can reduce or eliminate these kinds of injuries.

Treatment

In general, if a specific action or movement (such as typing on a keyboard, or gripping a hammer) is causing pain, then simply avoiding this action may be enough to alleviate symptons. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work and a person's job may preclude simply stopping.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated by immobilizing the wrist in a splint to minimize or prevent pressure on the nerves (the use of splints for anything other than a short time is considered by many to be non productive).

If that fails, patients are sometimes given anti-inflammatory drugs or injections of cortisone in the wrist to reduce the swelling.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be treated non-surgically through the use of Active Release Techniques. The purpose of this treatment is to reduce the scar tissue adhesions, increase muscle elasticity, and increase strength.

There is also a surgical procedure in which doctors can open the wrist and cut the ligament (the flexor retinaculum) at the bottom of the wrist to relieve the pressure. However, only a small percentage of patients require surgery. The surgery itself is very brief, and only a local anaesthetic is needed. Full recovery however, can take up to three months. This surgery can also be done endoscopically.

Long Term Recovery

Approximately 1 percent of individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome develop permanent injury. The majority recover completely and can avoid reinjury by changing the way they do repetitive movements, the frequency with which they do the movements, and the amount of time they rest between periods when they perform the movements.

References

External links