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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Few Facts

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Few Facts

Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a condition affecting the median nerve. The median nerve runs through the forearm to the hand and passes through the carpal tunnel (a narrow tunnel made of bones and soft tissue i.e. tendons, ligaments, nerves) in the wrist. We refer to the condition in which the median nerve is under excessive pressure in the carpal tunnel, resulting in pain, weakness, and even numbness through the hand, wrist and even the forearm as CTS.

You may be under the common misconception that frequent computer users suffer more often from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You may be surprised to learn that even extreme frequency of computer use poses no greater threat. Adults most often get CTS from assembly line jobs like meatpacking, manufacturing, sewing or cleaning. Also, women are three times more likely to develop CTS than men.

Over a lifetime, CTS shaves roughly $30,000 in time from the work and medical expenditure of individuals who suffer the ailment. Among work-related injuries or conditions, this makes it one of the most expensive.

CTS Indicators
If your carpal tunnel is on the small side, you are at increased risk to develop a compressed median nerve. An injury to your wrist is also liable to result in CTS, due to hypothyroidism, swelling, or inflammatory arthritis. Mechanical malfunctions in the joint of the wrist that are correlated with the use of vibrating hand tools, bad working ergonomics, or fluid retention.

People at early stages of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome often report a faint tingling in their fingers. More serious symptoms include being unable to distinguish hot and cold, a weakened grip, trouble making a fist, tingling hands for prolonged periods, and swollen fingers.

CTS Diagnosis
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, your chiropractor can offer a definitive Carpal Tunnel Syndrome diagnostic. An early detection of CTS will save you a considerable amount of damage to your hand and wrist. Furthermore, a chiropractor can let you know whether your problems are the result of an underlying issue, or simply harmful daily activities.

Only one or two tests are required by chiropractors to make a definitive diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The first test, the Pressure-Provocative test, utilizes a carefully placed cuff put just in front of the carpal tunnel. The median nerve is then pressured by the gentle inflation of the cuff. With the more recently developed Carpal Compression Test, pressure targets the carpal tunnel directly, in addition to the median nerve.

Tests such as these may help to uncover conditions such as fractures, diabetes or arthritis, which can cause CTS. For further assessment, sometimes electrodiagnostic tests are performed, to measure the speed of electrical impulses passing through your wrist; if you have CTS, the speed of the impulses is slower.

Treatment of CTS
Stop any actions that aggravate your symptoms, and allow both your hand and your wrist enough time to relax and heal, if you are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A splint can be an effective means of stabilizing the wrist, to ward against bending or twisting. Vitamin B6 is also known to aid in recovery, ameliorating swelling and discomfort.

A viable wrist therapy option is chiropractic joint manipulation. Various strengthening and stretching exercises may help to restore your hand's range of motion. Acupuncture has been found effective in both preventing and curing CTS, according to some scientists. You may not find relief from CTS from any of these methods, though. In this case, you can turn to surgery, which can release the ligament covering the carpal tunnel. Surgery generally proves to be a permanent solution for CTS.

CTS Prevention
A variety of ways exist to avoid developing CTS. Stretch and do small exercises to take breaks from continuous work. Keep your wrist stable and healthy in a good position with a firm splint. Also, make sure your workplace conditions are ergonomic; this will allow you to do your job more comfortably.

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