Want to hear a crazy statistic? 2 out of every 5 employed people use the internet for work. That’s 55.5% or roughly 730,000 currently employed people! With that, it’s no wonder that more and more people struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’re one of those people or are just looking to learn more about what carpal tunnel syndrome actually is, you’ve found the right place!
If you’re sick of wrist pain while typing, gaming, gardening, or just living life, read on: we’re going to go into the symptoms, causes, and treatments of the inflammation that’s sweeping the nation (in a bad way).
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that affects the hands and wrists, causes a good bit of pain, and stops us from getting a lot of work done.
Butwhat is it? Buckle up, 'cause we’re getting medical:
The Carpal Tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that houses the median nerve, as well as several tendons that control hand movement. When the median nerve becomes compressed or squeezed, it can cause pain and discomfort in the hand and wrist that is associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
There are a lot of misconceptions about Carpal tunnel syndrome, the first being that only people who spend a lot of time on the computer get it. Not true! Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by various factors, including (but not limited to):
Repetitive hand and wrist movements:
Using a computer mouse
Playing a musical instrument
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel
Thinking you might be dealing with it? Believe it or not, it isn’t always easy to tell - if you spend a lot of time typing, you may just have strained or overworked your wrist.
Here’s a handy list to tell if you’re dealing with the real deal:
Tingling/Numbness in the Hand
One of the most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is tingling or numbness in the hand, particularly in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. The sensation may feel like pins and needles, and it may come and go throughout the day. Those struggling with this no how uncomfortable it can be!
General Pain/Discomfort in the Hand
While not a guarantee or diagnosis, pain or discomfort in the wrist and hand can be another common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome. The pain may be mild or severe and may occur during activities that involve the use of the hand and wrist, such as typing, writing, or using tools.
Feeling like you can’t lift what you used to? Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause weakness in the hand, which can make it difficult to grip objects or perform fine motor tasks. You may notice that you drop things more frequently or have difficulty opening jars or bottles.
Swelling in the Fingers
Swelling in the finger can happen if you eat too much salt or are having an allergic reaction, but it can also be a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome! The swelling is usually mild and may be more noticeable in the morning.
Sensitivity to Cold and Hot Temperatures
One of the rarer symptoms, some people with carpal tunnel syndrome may also experience sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures. This sensitivity may be more pronounced in the affected hand and fingers.
Loss of Coordination
Another rare symptom, but it can still happen! In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to a loss of coordination in the affected hand. This can make it difficult to perform tasks that require precision and accuracy, such as playing a musical instrument or cooking.
How to Treat Carpal Tunnel
Dealing with some (or maybe even all) of these issues? You may be dealing with CTS (we should note that if you suspect that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it's important to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis).
In short, treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may be treated with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication, while more severe cases may require surgery to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
Don’t fear, though - one of the first steps in treating carpal tunnel syndrome is to rest the affected wrist and hand. This means avoiding activities that can aggravate the condition, such as repetitive movements, drawing, playing games, cooking, or gardening. If you’ve tried this and aren’t getting results fast enough, though, there are other options!
Here are some of the best ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome:
Physical therapy can also be an effective (albeit a bit expensive) treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. A physical therapist can work with you to strengthen the muscles in your hands and wrists, improve your range of motion, alleviate some of the pain, and teach you exercises to help reduce pain and stiffness.
Can’t write a blog without addressing our favorite topic! Compression therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that can help ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Compression therapy involves applying pressure to the affected area, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as improve circulation.
Compression Gloves: A popular form of compression therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome, these gloves are designed to apply pressure to the wrist and hand, which can help reduce pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. Our compression gloves in particular are made from breathable and flexible materials and are copper-infused to prevent bacteria growth and give them an extra layer of durability!
Carpal Tunnel Night Brace: This brace is perfect for 24-hour stabilization and protection. Also copper-infused and breathable, you can wear this brace at night to promote a faster recovery and avoid pain.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can also be used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help to reduce pain and swelling. Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication or corticosteroid injection to relieve symptoms.
For severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be necessary. During this procedure, a surgeon will cut the ligament that is pressing on the median nerve in order to relieve pressure and reduce symptoms. While surgery is generally considered safe and effective, it may take several weeks or even months for a patient to fully recover. This is typically for severe cases only!
In addition to traditional medical treatments, some people find relief from carpal tunnel syndrome through alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, or massage therapy. These therapies can help to reduce pain, improve circulation, and promote healing.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a painful and debilitating condition, but don’t let it disrupt your life! We’re pros at that - so don’t forget to check out our website! For more tidbits, tips, deals, and more, check out our blog.
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