Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Learn How to
Relieve Pain and Loosen Up Your Joints
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: LEARN HOW TO
RELIEVE PAIN AND LOOSEN UP YOUR JOINTS
Have you ever had one of those feelings where your whole hand went numb, and you could feel a tingling down the length of the hand?
It often happens when you have had a rough night sleeping in a bad posture with your arm crooked awkwardly under your head. Other times, it might happen because you have spent a lot of time typing on your computer or gaming with friends.
The first few times, the numbness only lasts for a short period. After that, your arm becomes numb to touch, and there is an accompanying tingling sensation. The numbness is gone within a short time, and your arm feels okay again.
It happens because the sustained activity has built up pressure on a particular nerve in your wrist, causing a temporary inhibition of the nerve functions and resulting in a tingling sensation as the nerve struggles to assume its original condition. It is not just about computers or gaming alone.
Any activity that overextends your wrist builds up pressure on this nerve. With repeated episodes of overextension, the numbness might take a long time to resolve, and you risk developing a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of a nerve passing through the wrist into the hand. This nerve, called the median nerve, is located on the palm side of your hand, helping you feel touch, pain, and pressure. It connects the brain to the index finger, long finger, thumb, and ring finger. So, any time you feel pressure and touch on these fingers, the median nerve is functionally conducting signals from the arm to the brain.
When there is compression on this nerve, its primary function of signal transfer is affected. Once this happens, you are likely to feel a generalized numbing of the arm. You might also experience tingling sensations along the length of the arm around the thumb with mild pain.
What Does It Feel Like?
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome start gradually. In many cases, frequent numbness and tingling of the fingers are likely the first symptoms you notice. These symptoms resolve the first few times quickly. However, if the cause persists, it might take a long time for the numbness to resolve.
In some people with carpal tunnel syndrome, the finger might feel swollen even without any signs of inflammation. Many people also report having these symptoms simultaneously in both hands, with the tingling sensation and pain lasting through the night. You are often likely to feel these symptoms on the hand you frequently use for strenuous activities.
You might experience a tingling sensation during the day with mild, radiating pain around the thumb as symptoms worsen. This makes it hard to effectively grasp small objects or perform a manual task such as holding up a phone or driving for a long time. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are progressive.
People with a severe form of this condition might temporarily lose the ability to differentiate between hot and cold objects. In addition, the muscle at the base of the thumb may waste away as the person struggles with repeated tingling and burning sensations along the arm.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Overextending and exerting excessive pressure on the wrist can potentially cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Pressure on the wrist is directed to the median nerve.
Sustained pressure on the median nerve can cause inflammation and loss of normal sensation in the arm. Therefore, in many cases, the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome might be a combination of factors affecting the wrist and the median nerve.
Usually, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs mostly in adults. Women are three times more likely to develop this condition than men. The physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause put women at a higher risk.
Other people at risk include tennis players and other people who perform repetitive tasks involving the wrist, such as cleaning, sewing, meatpacking, manufacturing, and bricklaying.
Activities involving the wrist's repetitive motion are the primary causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities exert too much pressure on the median nerve over time. People with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to develop this condition.
Other conditions that can predispose you to carpal tunnel syndrome include:
• Thyroid dysfunction
• Wrist sprains
How Is the Syndrome Treated?
If you’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, the treatment options available for you will depend on your symptoms. The common options your doctor might prescribe include:
You might consider wearing a splint at night in the early stages. Splints are especially useful if a bad sleeping posture causes your symptoms. This helps keep the arm in a good position to avoid exerting pressure on it while you sleep.
Over-the-counter medications can help ease the pain accompanying the tingling sensation. Medications such as aspirin, diclofenac, and ibuprofen may provide short-term relief and reduce the inflammation of the wrist. This option provides immediate relief, and it’s commonly prescribed when carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by sprains, fractures, or wrist traumas.
Prescription medications are useful in people with an underlying medical condition causing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have diabetes or hypertension, getting prescription medications under the supervision of a licensed doctor is advised. Treating the underlying medical condition may help resolve your symptoms quickly.
#3 Avoiding tasks that overextend the wrist
This is perhaps the most useful precaution for managing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome during the early stages. Repetitive activities that build pressure on the wrist are major triggers for this condition. Cutting out the number of hours you spend gaming, sewing, and typing may resolve your symptoms in a short time. You should also consider resting your arm frequently.
#4 Alternative therapies
If you are not a big fan of medications, you might consider exploring alternative therapies. For example, acupuncture and chiropractic care have reportedly helped people suffering from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, there is little evidence to back up these claims. Yoga is an exemption in this case. It improves grip strength, enhances joint flexibility, reduces pain in the wrist, and helps strengthen the wrist muscles.
Surgery is only reserved for severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is only necessary if the condition has caused severe damage to the median nerve and the risk of complications has increased. The carpal tunnel release surgery involves cutting a band of tissue and small nerves in the wrist. This reduces the pressure on the median nerve and resolves the symptoms. The outcome is usually good; however, the success of this option depends on multiple factors. You might have to discuss this option with your doctor if need be.
Try Flow Ropes
Simple exercise procedures that help your wrist rotate in a 360-degree motion can reduce the painful symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. These exercises primarily ease the pressure on the median nerve. One of the best ways to exercise your wrist is by using a flow rope.
This simple fitness tool provides a low-impact stimulus to your wrist joint, eases the pressure, and promotes muscle flexibility. Flow ropes also lower your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome by helping you exercise your arm and providing support for the median nerve.
Conditions that cause carpal tunnel syndrome overextend the wrist in two directions – up and down. Flow ropes neutralize the pressure buildup in these directions by helping you balance wrist movement with a rotational movement – up, down, and sideways.
If you already have symptoms of tunnel carpal syndrome, Octomoves flow ropes ease the pain and reduce pressure exertion on the median nerve. This is undoubtedly a better way to exercise the wrist while keeping fit.
The outlook for carpal tunnel syndrome is usually good in many cases. However, if you've experienced the symptoms mentioned above for a long time, you might be at risk. Recognizing these symptoms by trying a treatment strategy on time can greatly help you recover on time.
Flow ropes can be your tool in preventing or treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Join the community and get 7 days of premium courses for free.
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Monica, Physical Therapist
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