Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition characterized by pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm, it is caused by a squeezed or compressed median nerve in the wrist. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital because it condition worsens with time and can also lead to nerve damage.
Anatomy of Carpel Tunnel
The carpal tunnel is small passageway in the wrist. Its floor and sides are formed by carpal bones of the wrist. It protects the median nerve and flexor tendons which are responsible for the bending movements of thumb and fingers. The roof of the carpal tunnel is formed by a band of connective tissue known as the transverse carpal ligament.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition, it usually occurs due to a combination of various factors. It may develop because of repetitive hand movements for a prolonged period such as typing. Females are more prone to develop this, and certain health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, thyroid diseases, pregnancy may increase your risk of developing this problem. Other risk factors include – heredity, extreme flexion or extension of hand and wrist may increase pressure on the median nerve.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Following are common symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, these symptoms may begin gradually and may worsen with time without treatment. Symptoms are more severe in the night.
• Numbness accompanied by pain, burning or tingling sensation in the thumb and fingers especially in ring, middle, and index fingers.
• One may also experience shock-like sensations, radiating to the thumb and fingers in the hand
• Weakness in the hand, making it difficult to make fine movements like buttoning clothes
• One may be dropping things unknowingly
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Before following any treatment options, it is important to get an evaluation and diagnosis by a doctor. Early diagnosis can help in relieving the pain and discomfort without surgery.
Bracing or splinting
Mild symptoms can be easily treated by wearing a brace or splint at night, it keeps the wrist straight in a neutral position and reduces the pressure on the nerve. You can also wear a splint in the day while performing your routine activities which usually aggravates your pain.
Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
1. Shake your hands
Shake your hands out, especially when you experience sudden pain in your hand in the night. This will help you by giving you immediate relief in pain and numbness.
2. Wrists bend (forward and backward)
Rest your elbow on a table, point your arm up towards the ceiling and keep your wrist straight. Gently bend your wrist forward making a right angle, hold in this position for another 5 seconds. Now straighten your wrist, and hold for 5 seconds. Gently bend your wrist back to its maximum capacity and hold for 5 seconds in this position. You can take help of your another hand. Repeat these exercise 10 repetitions, 2 – 3 times daily.
3. Wrist lift
Place your palm of your hand flat on the table, place your other hand across the knuckles and push down while the hand below tries to pull up. You should feel the contraction of the muscles in your forearm. Swap hands and repeat this exercise for 4-5 times.
4. Wrist flex
Keep your hand straight, your palm facing down towards the ground. Gently bend your wrist down with the help of another hand towards your body and hold in this position for 15 – 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 2 -3 times a day.
5. Finger bend
Hold your fingers straight pointing towards the ceiling gently bend your fingers from the middle joints and hold for 5 – 10 seconds. Do at least 3 sets of 10 – 15 repetitions.
6.Wrist stretch with weights
Hold a lightweight object in your hand, facing your palm down stretch your arm. Bend your wrist upwards and hold for 5 seconds and then slowly return to your previous position. You can gradually increase the weight of the object. Do 3 – 4 sets of this exercise with 10 repetitions.
7. Fist to stop sign
Make a fist with your hand, slide your fingers like you are telling to stop. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times.
8. Fist to fan
Make a fist with your hand, fan your fingers out. Stretch your fingers to your maximum capacity. Repeat this exercise for 5 -10 times.
9. Thumb touches
Touch the tip of each finger to the thumb of your hand making an “O”, repeat it with each finger.
10. Hand squeeze
Hold a rubber ball in your hand and squeeze it, hold for 5 – 10 seconds. Repeat these 10 times and do such sets 3 times a day.
Remember, pain and discomfort associated with mild carpal tunnel syndrome can be easily treated with the help of exercises. Always talk to your doctor before doing any exercise.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.