Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain and Relief
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The medium nerve controls the thumb; index, middle and ring fingers are under the control of the median nerve the carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand. Thickening from irritated or swollen tendons narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Symptoms of carpal tunnel usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and fingers. Numbing of the index and middle finger are very common. The fingers may feel swollen or even useless even though little or no swelling may be present. Many people who suffer from carpal tunnel notice their hands falling asleep in the night, this is caused by the normal tendency to sleep with flexed wrist, which cuts off circulation even further. Sufferers may notice pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. As symptoms worsen, people might feel tingling during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to forma a fist, perform manual tasks or even grasp small objects. Some people with carpal tunnel syndrome may not be able to between hot and cold by touch. In chronic or untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. Painful sensations may indicate other conditions but carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies
Do you have Carpal Tunnel syndrome?
Frequent tingling, numbness or burning in the palm of your hand and fingers (especially the thumb, index, and middle fingers)
- Frequent itching sensation in the palm of your hand and fingers
- A night splint eases the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Fingers feel useless and swollen, even with no swelling present
- First symptoms noticed at night
- Symptoms can occur in one or both hands
- Waking up with the need to shake out your hand to ease the symptoms
- Decreases grip strength
- Clumsy when handling objects
- Hard to distinguish between hot and cold by touch
- First symptoms noticed on dominate hand
- Trauma or injury causing swelling to the wrist
- Does your job include work related stress, assembly line, computer work or any repetitive motion
- Shooting pains from forearm to shoulder
- Entire hand effected-except the little finger
Who is at risk?
Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, this may be because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men. The dominant hand is usually affected first and produces the most severe pain. Persons with diabetes, Hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or other metabolic disorders that directly affect the body’s nerves and make them more susceptible to compression.
Costs of carpal tunnel
- Carpal tunnel syndrome results in the highest number of lost days among all work related injuries
- Carpal tunnel currently affects over 8 million Americans
- Up to 36% of all carpal tunnel syndrome patients require unlimited medical treatment
- Only 23% of all carpal tunnel syndrome patients were able to return to their previous professions following surgery
- Estimated three out of every 10,000 workers lost time from work because of carpal tunnel syndrome. Half of these workers missed more than 10 days of work
- Average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome, including medical bills and lost time from work, is estimated to be over $30,000 fro each injured worker
Abstract: “Ultrasound (US) and electrical stimulation have been widely used in hand therapy to promote recovery after nerve and tendon injuries. There is support for the use of low-dosage continuous wave and pulsed US for carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.”
From “Is There a Role for Ultrasound and Electrical Stimulation Following Injury to Tendon and Nerve?” – Susan L. Michlovitz, PT, PhD, CHT, Department of Physical Therapy, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania