Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve goes from the forearm into the hand and controls feeling to the palm side of the thumb and all fingers except for the little finger and also some small muscles in the hand that allow movement of the fingers and thumb. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway, bound by ligaments and bones at the base of the hand, which make up the channel for the median nerve and surrounding tendons.
This channel may be narrowed when the tendons become irritated and swollen compressing the median nerve. This compression of the nerve causes pain, weakness and numbness in the hand and wrist with the pain often radiating up the arm.
Fortunately, prompt, proper treatment can usually relieve the pain and numbness and normal use of hands is restored. More severe cases can be treated by splinting and/or medication. However, if carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms aren't treated early or the symptoms persist for more than 6 months, surgery may be the best option.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Women are 3 times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men
- Women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or are going through menopause are at increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is commonly found in people who perform assembly line work
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is 3 times more likely in an assembly line worker than in a person who spends most of their time on a computer
- If someone in your family had carpal tunnel syndrome you are more likely to also develop the syndrome
- Diabetics are at an increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome
- Obese people are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome
- People with rheumatoid arthritis are more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome
- Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome
- Carpal tunnel release surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States
- A study by Mayo Clinic found that computer use up to 7 hours a day did not increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome
- The average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome is estimated to be about $30,000 per injured US worker (2002 data)
- The dominant hand is usually affected first with carpal tunnel syndrome
- Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome
- If carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated, permanent damage can occur to the median nerve
- Carpal tunnel syndrome usually only occurs in adults
- The surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is typically performed on an outpatient basis with local or general anesthesia
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FAQs - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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