Several people around the world suffer from different diseases, conditions, and injuries every day. These issues can be debilitating and can affect your way of life both physically and mentally. It is imperative for every person to be aware of their body’s strengths and limits so that they can be vigilant when they sense even the slightest change in their health and can then get checked by the appropriate professionals immediately. Sadly most people aren’t aware of their signs and symptoms until it’s too late for most conditions. One of these is CTS or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel – a common problem in the new age
According to EHS Today, the number of CTS cases has reduced significantly weighing the past ten years. This, however, isn’t the result of better healthcare and prevention, but because of improved ergonomics and better work environments. That being said, a study conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland states that the lifetime incidence of carpal tunnel was still 3.1% between 2000 and 2011, with an incidence rate of 1.73 per 1,000 people per year.
A common myth that most people believe is that CTS only affects people with factory or typing jobs. The truth is that CTS can affect people of all ages and occupations, but is highly prevalent in advanced age and work-related stress.
What is the CTS or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
According to OrthoInfo, CTS or carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem that results in pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in your hands and arms. It occurs when the nerve supply to the hand along the median nerve is irritated or compressed. CTS is seen to affect more women than men, but the risk of getting the condition increases significantly with age for both sexes. It also commonly affects people with obesity and those working in jobs that require repetitive or excessive hand and arm motion.
You can learn more about the condition at Pillars of Wellness to get an idea of the problem and how to treat it.
What are the causes?
HealthLine mentions that the pain in CTS is the result of excess pressure in the wrist and on the median nerve. Such pressure is usually because of some Inflammation or swelling. The most common cause of inflammation is some medical issue that causes swelling in the wrist or obstructed blood flow. The common conditions associated with carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Menopause or Pregnancy’s fluid retention
- autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
- High BPPreview (opens in a new window)
- Injuries, fractures, and trauma of the wrist
CTS can be aggravated if your wrist is moved repetitively. Excessive motion of the wrist causes swelling and irritation of the median nerve. This could be because of the:
- The positioning of your wrists when typing or using a mouse
- Excessive exposure to vibration in certain tools or power gears
- Repetitive motion that overextends the wrist, like playing the piano
Contact Pillars of Wellness at [email protected] in case you feel any pain or discomfort in your wrist so you can see if you’re at risk of having CTS.
Signs and symptoms
CTS symptoms are usually noticeable over time. The initial symptoms generally include the intermittent numbness or tingling of the thumb, index or middle fingers. CTS can also cause discomfort in your wrist and palm. Usual CTS symptoms include:
- Tingling or numbness: tingling and numbness affect the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers, but the little finger is spared. Occasionally, there is a sensation similar to an electric shock in the fingers, which can travel from the wrist to the arm.
These symptoms can be felt when holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper, and can affect your sleep. The numbness can become consistent gradually.
- Weakness: weakness occurs in the hand and causes people to lose grip drop objects. This is usually because of the numbness in the hand or due to weakness in thumb muscles.
Consult the appropriate professional at Pillars of Wellness if you have any signs and symptoms associated with CTS that affect your daily activities and sleep.
How do you diagnose CTS?
Doctors can diagnose CTS by getting your history, conduct a physical exam and nerve tests. A physical involves checking your hand, wrist, shoulder, and neck to find any swelling or pressure changes. Doctors check for signs of tenderness, swelling, or abnormalities, as well as any sensations in the fingers. They will also test the muscle strength in the affected areas. Studies done for nerve conduction can evaluate the impulses’ conduction speed. If the impulse rate of the nerve is below the normal range, you could have CTS.
What is the treatment?
Treatment for CTS depends on the severity of pain, weakness, and symptoms. Most often, simple CTS cases just require rest, hot/cold compressed to reduce inflammation, and moderate physical exercise of the wrist.
Nonsurgical options include:
- avoiding overextension of the wrist
- wrist splints to hold the hand in a neutral position
- painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications
- treatment of other causative conditions like diabetes or arthritis
- steroid injections in the wrist to minimize swelling
Surgery is suggested if there is severe nerve damage. CRS surgery involves cutting the carpal tunnel to reduce the pressure on the middle nerve. Certain factors affect the success of surgical treatment including age, symptom duration, underlying condition diabetes mellitus, and weakness. Surgical treatment usually has a good prognosis.
How to beat CTS with yoga therapy
Patrick Kilchermann was a computing worker who suddenly felt a sharp pain in his right wrist. The pain usually flared up after consistently working for hours. His symptoms soon grew more severe over time. Patrick felt physically and mentally exhausted both at home and at work. He couldn’t sleep or use his keyboard or mouse anymore without feeling excruciating pain, and the sensation left him feeling depressed. That’s when Patrick decided to try yoga therapy, and his regimen completely removed his carpal tunnel symptoms in three short days, so that he was back to working at 100% with zero pain.
Pillars of Wellness offers yoga for your physical and mental health along with Physiotherapy and other services, so make an appointment and get your treatment today!