Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a devastating injury that affects more than 8 million people in the United States and continues to increase each year.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of many repetitive stress injuries (RSI) found everywhere; homes, offices, assembly lines, supermarkets, book clubs, construction sites, dental offices – everywhere! Because carpal tunnel syndrome is so common and its effects so devastating, it is important to know how it occurs, what its symptoms are, the test methods used, and the treatment options available, such as prevention of any injury, especially carpal. tunnel, starts with education.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder that affects the median nerve, which provides function to the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger. Symptoms are most common in the thumb, index, and middle fingers (sometimes the middle of the ring finger) and include numbness, tingling, paresthesia (tingling), pain, and tightness in the front of the hand, wrist and forearm. These symptoms do not have to occur simultaneously and can affect only one finger one day and then three fingers a few days later.
If a doctor provides a carpal tunnel diagnosis and the symptoms are in the ring and little fingers, it is NOT carpal tunnel syndrome! The ulnar nerve, not the median nerve, provides function for the ring and little fingers. Repetitive stress disorders affecting these two fingers are usually Guyon syndrome, entrapment of the ulnar nerve in Guyon’s canal at the junction of the wrist, or cubital tunnel syndrome, entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the junction of the elbow. This is a common mistake made by many, many doctors and it is completely unforgivable as they often recommend surgery for the patient, causing the patient to undergo an unnecessary procedure, and making it worse, by the disorder! wrong!
If symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome arise, doctors will recommend that you have a nerve conduction velocity test (NCV) or an electromoyogram (EMG) to see if carpal tunnel syndrome really exists. These tests are often painful for the person being tested, very expensive, and often give false positives and false negatives. This is why manual carpal tunnel tests are recommended for a more accurate (and much cheaper) diagnosis. Manual carpal tunnel tests take no more than 10 minutes, have a high accuracy rate, are painless, and are very inexpensive compared to NCV and EMG tests.
The recommended manual carpal tunnel tests consist of the following:
Phalen test: the wrist is flexed for 30 to 60 seconds to compress the median nerve and duplicate / increase symptoms.
Reverse Phalen Test: The wrist is extended for 30 to 60 seconds to stretch the median nerve and duplicate / increase symptoms. Stretching the median nerve if it is already affected will duplicate / increase symptoms if a patient has carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tinnel’s sign: Hitting directly on the median nerve at the wrist junction will make carpal tunnel symptoms manifest.
· Compression test – Direct pressure is applied to the location of the median nerve for 30 to 60 seconds to see if carpal tunnel symptoms are present.
If a positive diagnosis is made, most doctors will push for surgery, a procedure that has a terrible success rate and should only be performed as a last resort after all other conservative treatment methods have been used. Conservative therapy is the key to successfully recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome and getting relief not only in the short but also in the long term.
The following is a list of conservative treatments that should be used to help prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, but also to rehabilitate carpal tunnel syndrome after it is already present.
Ergonomics – Use proper ergonomic tools and equipment when working.
· Breaks: Take short breaks every 30 minutes when working to help reduce undue stress on your hands.
Stretches: Stretch the muscles that ‘close’ your hands as these are the muscles that are exercised throughout the day in activities like typing, writing, grabbing the wheel, using a computer mouse, carrying groceries, and everything else that is done on day. and day out. When a muscle is involved in exercise, it shortens, therefore it must be stretched and lengthened both during and after completing the exercises. (End of the day)
Exercises: Exercise and strengthen the muscles that are used to ‘open’ the hands, as these muscles do not receive much direct stimulation / exercise. (That is, people don’t turn doorknobs, don’t hold things, write, use a computer mouse, or lift things with the back of their hand)
The information provided above reveals how carpal tunnel syndrome occurs, what its symptoms are, the most commonly used testing methods, and the best conservative treatment options used to thwart its existence.
It is very important that people acquire the right information and tools to maintain and increase their level of health and productivity. It is also important for people to talk to their doctors about their health concerns, and if someone is involved in an occupation that is considered high risk for carpal tunnel, they should discuss this with their doctor, but it is even more critical than people. become self-taught as no one can take better care of you than “YOU”!