Updated: May 16
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed as it passes through the wrist. This can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
Fortunately, there are several effective ways to combat carpal tunnel syndrome and relieve the associated pain.
Seek Medical Attention
If you suspect that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider. There are several types of doctors who specialize in treating CTS, including orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, and physical therapists.
Your doctor may recommend non-invasive treatments, such as wrist splints or physical therapy, before exploring surgical options.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Making simple lifestyle changes can also help relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, taking regular breaks to stretch your hands and wrists during repetitive tasks, such as typing or assembly line work, can help reduce the strain on your median nerve. You can also try switching to an ergonomic keyboard or mouse, which can help reduce wrist strain and improve your posture.
Try Alternative Therapies
Several alternative therapies have been shown to help relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture, for example, has been shown to help reduce pain and improve grip strength in people with CTS. Chiropractic adjustments may also help relieve pressure on the median nerve and reduce pain.
In severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve. This can involve either an open or endoscopic procedure, which aims to release the pressure on the nerve and improve blood flow to the affected area. Your doctor can help you determine whether surgery is necessary and which type of procedure is best suited for your individual needs.
There are several medications that can help relieve the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation, while corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and swelling. In some cases, nerve-specific medications such as gabapentin may also be recommended.
How You Get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur due to a variety of factors, including repetitive motions, obesity, and pregnancy. It is also more common in people who engage in activities that require forceful or repetitive hand movements, such as typing or assembly line work. In some cases, it can also occur as a result of underlying health conditions such as arthritis or diabetes.
Examples of Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
John is a 35-year-old factory worker who began experiencing numbness and tingling in his fingers after months of repetitive assembly line work. His doctor recommended physical therapy and wrist splints, which helped relieve his symptoms without the need for surgery.
Maria is a 50-year-old administrative assistant who developed carpal tunnel syndrome after years of typing on a traditional keyboard. She switched to an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, which helped reduce the strain on her wrists and relieve her symptoms.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2020). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet
Bland, J. D. (2007). Carpal tunnel syndrome. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 335(7615), 343–346. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949448/
Zhang, J., Li, L., & Sun, S. (2017). Efficacy of physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research, 12(1), 116. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13018-017-0629-5
La Touche, R., Goddard, G., & De-la-Hoz, J. L. G. (2019). Acupuncture in the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Pain Research, 12, 2177–2188. https://doi.org/10.2147/jpr.s197388
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (2021). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/
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