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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What It Is and How to Prevent It

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common neurological disorder that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers, and motor function to the muscles at the base of the thumb.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Before we delve into prevention strategies, it’s essential to grasp what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is and how it develops.

What causes CTS?

CTS can be caused by a number of factors, including:

Repetitive hand and wrist movements: This is the most common cause of CTS. Repetitive movements can put a strain on the tendons and nerves in the carpal tunnel.

Inflammation: Inflammation of the tendons or nerves in the carpal tunnel can also lead to CTS.

Swelling: Increased fluid accumulation within the carpal tunnel can apply pressure to the median nerve, potentially leading to related discomfort.

Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy may induce carpal tunnel swelling, potentially resulting in related symptoms.

Obesity: Obesity can increase the risk of CTS by putting pressure on the median nerve.

Arthritis: In cases of arthritis, inflammation and swelling within the carpal tunnel can lead to discomfort and related issues.

Diabetes: Nerve deterioration within the carpal tunnel can occur due to diabetes, ultimately giving rise to conditions resembling those associated with CTS.

Symptoms of CTS

The most common symptoms of CTS include:

  • Pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers, especially the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger
  • Weakness in the hand
  • Difficulty gripping objects
  • Dropping things

How is CTS diagnosed?

CTS can be diagnosed with a physical exam and a nerve conduction test. The nerve conduction test measures how quickly electrical signals travel through the median nerve.

Treatment for CTS

Treatment for CTS depends on the severity of the symptoms. Treatment options include:

  1. Rest and splinting: Resting the hand and wrist and wearing a splint can help to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
  3. Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroids can be injected into the carpal tunnel to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  4. Surgery: If other treatments are not effective, surgery may be recommended to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent CTS, including:

Minimize Repetitive Actions: If your occupation involves frequent repetitive hand and wrist movements, consider incorporating regular breaks into your day to stretch and relieve tension in your hands and wrists.

Sustain a Balanced Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is essential, as excess body weight, often associated with obesity, can elevate the risk of developing CTS.

Manage Underlying Health Conditions: For individuals with underlying medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes, effective management of these conditions is vital to reducing the risk of CTS.

Utilize Ergonomic Tools: Implementing ergonomic tools and equipment can significantly alleviate strain on your hands and wrists, enhancing overall comfort during tasks.

Intermittent Breaks for Exercise: Incorporate intermittent breaks during your workday for hand and wrist exercises and stretches, promoting flexibility and minimizing the risk of CTS.

Expert Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment in Arizona: AZNS for Relief

AZNS is the foremost expert for those in Arizona dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). These specialists excel in diagnosing and treating CTS, offering a range of options to alleviate symptoms and enhance hand and wrist functionality. From wrist splinting to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and targeted steroid injections to personalized physical therapy, AZNS is well-equipped to address each patient’s unique needs. For severe or unresponsive CTS symptoms, we possess the surgical expertise for carpal tunnel release. Recognizing the critical importance of early diagnosis and treatment in preventing long-term damage and disability, we are the trusted partner in Arizona for comprehensive CTS care. If you’re experiencing CTS symptoms, consulting with our specialists is your first step toward restoring comfort in your hand and wrist. 

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