Nervous System
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Overview:
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common condition due to pressure on the median nerve in your wrist causing numbness and tingling in your hand.
  • Certain work activities (like frequent use of computer) are the most common risk factors.
  • Consult a doctor if symptoms negatively affect your daily activities and sleeping patterns.
  • Pressure reduction on your wrist is a key preventive measure.
 
Carpal Tunnel:
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist made up of bones and ligaments. The median nerve runs through this passageway along with tendons to the fingers and thumb.
 
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?
It is a common condition that causes numbness, tingling and pain in the hand and fingers.
 
Other Known Names:
Median mononeuropathy at the wrist.
 
Causes:
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be associated with any condition that causes pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. Some common conditions that can lead to CTS include:
  • Wrist fracture
  • Swelling and inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • There is no single cause in many cases. It may be that a combination of risk factors contributes to the development of the condition.
 
Risk Factor:
  • Gender: Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally more common in women.
  • Workplace: working with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist, (including working on th keyboard, mouse, mobile ...).
  • Family history with CTS.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Obesity.
  • Wrist damaging conditions.
  • Other medical conditions such diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
 
Symptoms:
Pain in fingers, which may extend to hand and arm.
Numbness in hands.
Sensation of tingling or "pins and needles".
Weakness and atrophy of the thumb muscles
 
See your doctor if you have persistent signs and symptoms suggestive of carpal tunnel syndrome that interfere with your normal activities and sleep patterns.
 
Diagnosis:
  • Medical history.
  • Testing the feeling in your fingers and the strength of the muscles in your hand.
  • X-ray.
  • Electromyogram.
  • Nerve conduction study.
 
Complications:
If untreated, the nerve can be damaged, causing permanent weakness, numbness, and tingling. Proper treatment effectively reduces incurred complications.
 
Treatment:
  1. Nonsurgical therapy:
    1. If the condition is diagnosed early, nonsurgical methods may help improve carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
    2. Wrist splinting.
    3. Corticosteroids.
    4. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help relieve pain from carpal tunnel syndrome in the short term. 
  2. Surgery:
    1. The goal of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve pressure by cutting the ligament pressing on the median nerve.
 
Prevention:
There are no proven strategies to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but you can minimize stress on your hands and wrists with these methods:
  • Take frequent breaks. Gently stretch and bend hands and wrists periodically.
  • Reduce your force and relax your grip. If your work involves a cash register or keyboard, for instance, hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
  • Keep your hands warm. Avoid sitting in a cold environment.

 

 

 

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