|Knowing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 17:17|
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common condition that is quite prevalent in the community and in some cases being misdiagnosed.
The syndrome is a progressively painful hand and arm condition caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist and if properly diagnosed it can be treated by the professionals at Cheshire Hall Medical Center, in particular by the Orthopedic Doctor and Surgeon Dr. Richard Knobloch.
Knobloch joined Cheshire Hall Medical Center in March as the only orthopedics and traumatology surgeon on Providenciales and Grand Turk.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common complaint in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. Typing on a computer keyboard is the most common cause of this condition, which is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which is the nerve in the wrist that supplies feeling to the fingers and hand. This nerve provides feeling and movement to the thumb side of the hand. If left untreated the syndrome can lead to numbness or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.
It is called the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because the area in your wrist where the nerve enters the hand is called the carpal tunnel and it is at this point that the nerve becomes pinched. This tunnel is usually quite narrow, and Knobloch says that any swelling, no matter how its caused, can pinch the nerve. This will in turn cause pain and/or numbness, tingling, and in some cases cause weakness.
Some causes of the syndrome are frequent and prolonged sewing, driving, painting, writing, use of power tools that vibrate, practicing sports such as racquetball or handball and playing certain musical instruments. The condition is said to be more common in women than men and occurs most often in people 30-60 years of age.
Among the symptoms are wasting away of the muscle under the thumb, weak grip, and weakness in one or both hands.
Before surgery is considered, very specific tests is conducted to insure proper diagnose. Two of these are the Phalen’s test and Tinel’s test. Knobloch explores every option before resorting to surgery and says one method of treatment is for patients to wear a splint on a nightly basis for several weeks or hot and cold compresses may resolve or relieve the problem.
A number of occupational health changes can be made in the office workplace to reduce the stress of carpal tunnel such as ergometric keyboards, cushioned pad supports and keyboard drawers.
If you have frequent and prolonged use of keyboards it is best to ensure that the keyboard is low enough so that your wrists are not bent upward while typing as well as taking breaks from typing and massaging hand frequently. In extreme cases you may also have to consider making changes in your work duties.
Symptoms often improve with treatment, but more than 50 percent of cases will require surgery, which is called carpal tunnel release. It is a relatively minor surgical procedure that cuts into the ligament that is pressing on the nerve and is commonly done under local anesthesia. Surgery has a high success rate, but for patients who have had the median nerve compression for an extended period of time, the surgery will provide limited relief and some continuing symptoms will remain.
Prevention is possible by avoiding or reducing the number of repetitive wrist movements, using tools and equipment that are properly designed to reduce the risk of wrist injury, taking frequent breaks when typing (especially when feeling tingling or pain) and using appropriate wrist supports.
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