hat is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the numbness, tingling, and weakness in your hand caused by excess pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. This pain may extend up into the arm, between the hand and elbow. CTS affects between 3%-6% of Americans aged 18-64 each year.
Often times, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the overuse of the hand, fingers, and wrist. And more often than not, due to extended time using a computer or laptop. The numbness, or hand and wrist pain can cause swelling of the wrist. This swelling can keep you from getting valuable work done at your computer, especially when working from home.
Certain illnesses or conditions have been shown to increase the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome. These include hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Even smoking may increase the risk of CTS by reducing blood flow to the wrists and hands. Women who may be pregnant may also be at an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. So, what can we do if we are feeling the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Reduce The Effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The following methods have been shown to reduce swelling and pain caused by CTS:
- Reduce wrist activity. Or, rest your wrist longer between activities
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour
- Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, to relieve pain and reduce swelling
- Try wearing a wrist splint at night. This tends to take the pressure off your median nerve
- When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when your arms are at your sides
While these methods may help to reduce some of the pain and swelling caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, certain cases may be more severe and may require physical therapy or even surgery.
How Can Spine & Orthopedic Center Help?
At the Spine & Orthopedic Center, we may be able to help ease your hand pain. Each case is different, and after careful consultation, specific physical therapy practices, stretches, or exercises may be recommended for certain patients. Find out more about the causes and treatment options for CTS by visiting the Spine & Orthopedic Center today.