Hour after hour, you tap away at your computer, getting work done during the day. And at night, you’re on your phone or tablet for leisure. If you're like most people, you’re not thinking about the impact these activities have on your wrist. Have you heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Below explains what is carpal tunnel syndrome, and how it can be treated.
Unfortunately, a wrist condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome is more common than many people think. An audit in Australia found there are about 195,000 appointments annually for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome!
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome all comes down to a single nerve: the median nerve. This nerve runs from your forearm into your thumb, index, and middle fingers, along with part of your ring finger, and is nestled within the carpal tunnel–a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist. Inflammation of the muscles, tendons, or a fracture of your wrist can reduce the space in the carpal tunnel, thus pinching the median nerve; giving rise to carpal tunnel syndrome.
In other words, carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the median nerve. While its most common symptom is that of pins and needles, others include:
- A dull ache in the wrist and forearm with pain radiating to the fingers
- Loss of feeling in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger which the median nerve supplies
- Discomfort so affecting that you need to stop what you’re doing
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
There's no one single cause behind carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, various factors can bring on the condition:
- Repetitive motions: such as typing, or any wrist movements you do over and over
- Health conditions: like obesity, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
- Pregnancy: unfortunately, often women are more predisposed to suffer from carpal tunnel during pregnancy.
- Injury: a prior wrist fracture or dislocation
When should I seek medical help?
For mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, the first thing you want to do to relieve discomfort is to adjust your positioning and the time spent in aggravating positions. Here are some suggestions:
- Modify your positioning: If you must use the keyboard for long periods, make sure your wrists are in a more neutral position. You can also consider supporting your wrists with a cushion or gel pad.
- Consider a wrist brace: wrist braces provide unmatched pain relief and support. Bauerfeind wrist braces feature an advanced three-dimensional knit that adapts to the body, does not slip and boosts the circulation.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from a more serious case of carpal tunnel, definitely speak with your doctor. And depending on your condition, your doctor may:
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication: medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, aren't a cure but can help relieve pain.
- Provide you with a wrist support: A support such as the ManuLoc Rhizo wrist brace helps make sure you’re not keeping your wrists bent for hours on end, especially when you’re sleeping.
- Opt for surgery: Carpal tunnel surgery makes the canal around the median room roomier by cutting the ligament pressing down on the nerve.
No matter the severity of your carpal tunnel, though, you should do whatever you can to prevent it from deteriorating. Although unlikely, untreated carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent nerve damage, disability, and loss of hand function.
Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products, check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance inquiry.
Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.
For assistance selecting the right product for your needs, book a video consultation with a Bauerfeind expert: Book Video Call, or call us on 1300 668 466