Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - The Basics
What do an
avid video gamer, a professional writer, and an automobile assembly person
all have in common?
They are all
prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
This disease became notorious in the 1980s, with the rise of popularity of the personal computer coupled with the enthusiastic reception of
However, its appearance on the health scene goes back much farther. There’s
evidence that as early as 100 years ago, people had problems with carpal
So what is
tunnel is the narrow passage (it’s only about as round as your thumb)
that’s located on the palm side of your wrist.
This passage provides protection to your main nerve serving your hand
as well as the nine tendons that bend your fingers.
is placed on this nerve, numbness, pain and eventually weakness of the hand
appears. And these are the
symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
people, the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome is temporary.
Proper treatment can help restore the use of the wrist and hand as
well as alleviate the pain.
syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve.
Medically speaking this is a mixed nerve, meaning that it provides a
sensory function as well as the nerve signals that move your muscles.
can come from just about any action that reduces the room it has to move
within the carpal tunnel. These
causes could be natural, such as bone spurs or a swelling or thickening of
the lining and lubricating layer of the tendons in this passage.
The cause of
this swelling may differ from individual to individual. Some individuals are affected with carpal tunnel as a result
of rheumatoid arthritis. Others
find that certain hormonal disorder, such as diabetes, thyroid problems and
menopause prompt the swelling. Still
others experience fluid retention which leads to swelling and pressure due
to pregnancy. In some cases
individuals are affected with deposits of an abnormal protein, called
amyloid, produced by the cells in your bone marrow.
swelling may also appear due to repetitive use of the hand or by an injury
you’ve sustained. Continued
flexing and extending of the tendons in both the hands and the wrists can
increase pressure within the tunnel. This
is especially true when the movement is done forcefully and for long periods
of time without rest. Any
injury, additionally, that causes swelling to your wrist may also exert the
pressure on this small passageway.
some people experience pain and swelling here simply because of the way
their carpal tunnel is “built” as it were.
For some persons, the carpal tunnel is actually smaller than average.
Carpal tunnel is three times more common in women than men.
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