What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of those conditions that most people have heard of, but are not entirely sure what it is or what it actually means for the sufferer.
So let us explain – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is when the median nerve (the nerve running from your wrist up your arm) becomes compressed, which leads to pain and restricted movement in your arm, hand and fingers.
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What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Although there is no one cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, there are a few factors that are commonly known to increase the chances of developing it – including:
- Carrying out repetitive work with your hands
- Existing wrist injuries
- Hereditary factors
Not everyone who meets the above criteria will be affected by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but meeting one or more of these factors will increase the chances of it developing at some point. For instance, up to 50% of pregnant women will develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in some form.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms
There are many different symptoms that could be a sign that you are developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, some of the more common of these include:
- Tingling in the hands and fingers
- Dull aching in the arm or hand
- Weakness in the thumb
- Pins and needles
Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so if you do have any of rhese symptoms it is advisable to visit your GP for a professional diagnosis before embarking on any treatments…
How to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Around a quarter of all Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cases will subside on their own within a few months. If your symptoms persist beyond this or increase in severity then you can have minor corrective surgery.
This surgery is usually just carried out under local anaesthetic and has a high success rate of completely curing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
If you are not keen on surgery, or your condition isn’t severe enough, then there are alternative treatments you can consider. The first of these is a wrist splint, which can be an effective way to limit the pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – although wrist splints can hinder your everyday activities, so many suffered tend to only wear them in the evening.
Steroid injections can also be a very effective way to treat Carpal Tunnel syndrome – especially in the short term. Around 75% of sufferers who opt for steroid injections report that their symptoms completely disappear. However, as time goes by this number falls to about 50%, so steroids are not the best option if you are looking for long-term relief.
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