Carpal tunnel syndrome is condition that is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist which causes sharp pain that spreads from the wrist down the arm. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway that protects the main nerve of the hand as well as the tendons.
When there is substantial pressure placed on the nerve, the compression of the nerve will cause numbness and pain and the hands become weak. This condition develops due to the anatomy of the wrist, repetitive hand movement pattern and some underlying health conditions. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis which causes swelling and inflammation can leave the individual prone to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition can affect anyone but women are more susceptible.
Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- The thumb and palm becomes numb along with tingling sensations. The adjacent digits are also affected and can be experienced in one or both hands.
- Pain in the wrist that becomes severe and spreads to the elbow.
- Difficulty in lifting and carrying objects
- Difficulty in moving the fingers
- If the condition is not properly treated or reaches the advanced stages, it will cause loss of muscle under the thumb that will cause weakening of the grip.
- Weakness in one or both of the hands
- There is numbness along with difficulty and discomfort when touching or examining small objects.
- This condition is usually more severe at night and can cause disruption in sleep
Common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome
- A repetitive stress injury
- Some conditions such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and hypothyroidism can cause carpal tunnel syndrome
- An injury to the wrist
- Spending long hours in any activities that require repetitive movement such as typing, painting, sewing, writing and driving.
- Diseases such as sarcoidosis, amyloidosis and multiple myeloma causes accumulation of abnormal substances found around the carpal tunnel that cause irritation.
Treatment and home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome
- Take a short break every hour as well as perform stretching and walking to help relax the affected nerve in the hands and the rest of the body.
- Apply alternately hot and cold compress to minimize the inflammation and pain.
- Avoid performing every day activities using the affected hands such as unscrewing, holding a cup or ringing a doorbell at least for a week in order to help the hand rest and take off the pressure on the affected nerve.
- Use a wrist pad with the keyboard. A wrist pad is a cushion that helps in supporting the wrists works by taking off stress in the wrist by raising them to level of the keyboard.
- Hang the hands on the sides of the bed at night or shake the hands and dangle them when there is pain.
- Massage the hands and wrist since it helps in relieving pressure.
- Take a prescribed anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen every day in order to minimize the swelling and pain.
- Wear a wrist splint during night time at least for two weeks to help in the supporting the wrist when in a straight position.