Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the wrist and hand. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed or pinched at the wrist. This compression causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers. It is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that is made up of bones and ligaments. It houses the median nerve as well as several tendons that help to move the fingers. When the median nerve is compressed or pinched, it can cause inflammation, which leads to the symptoms of CTS.

There are several risk factors for developing CTS, including repetitive hand movements, wrist injuries, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. People who work in jobs that require repetitive hand motions, such as assembly line workers or computer programmers, are at an increased risk of developing CTS.

Symptoms of CTS usually begin gradually and may worsen over time. They often start with a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers, especially at night. This may be followed by numbness or a burning sensation in the hand and fingers. In more severe cases, people may experience weakness in the hand and difficulty gripping or holding objects.

Diagnosis of CTS is usually based on a combination of symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. A doctor may perform tests to check for sensation and strength in the hand and fingers, as well as tests to evaluate the function of the median nerve.

Treatment for CTS typically involves relieving pressure on the median nerve. This may include wearing a wrist splint or brace to keep the wrist in a neutral position, which can reduce pressure on the nerve. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in the wrist and hand.

In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve. This may involve cutting the ligament that is pressing on the nerve, which can reduce symptoms and improve hand function.

Prevention of CTS involves avoiding repetitive hand movements and maintaining good posture while working. Taking frequent breaks to rest the hands and wrists can also help to reduce the risk of developing CTS.

In conclusion, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers. It is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist and can be diagnosed through a combination of symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. Treatment typically involves relieving pressure on the median nerve through the use of wrist splints, physical therapy, or surgery. Prevention involves avoiding repetitive hand movements and maintaining good posture while working.

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