What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Could you be suffering with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and arm. In this blog we are looking at answering questions around what is carpal tunnel.
What is the carpal tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist and it acts as protection for the flexor tendons and the median nerve that run through this tunnel. Swelling of the surrounding tissues can restrict the tunnel and in turn the tendons can compress the median nerve. The median nerve which supplies the flexor tendons of the forearm and some of the skin of the palm surface of the hand.
What are some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Tingling into hand and at times into the arm
- Numbness in hand (sometimes arm and shoulder) especially at night
- Pain in hand and arm
- Weakness in hand and forearm, reduced grip strength
- Muscle wasting in hand and forearm
So what causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Heredity. For some people the carpal tunnel can be smaller or there may be structural differences that affect the amount of space for the nerve.
- Repetitive hand activities. Repeating the same hand and wrist motions or activities over a prolonged period of time may inflame the tendons in the wrist, causing swelling.
- Extreme flexion or extension of the hand and wrist for a prolonged period of time can increase pressure on the nerve.
- Pregnancy- Hormonal changes can cause swelling.
- Health conditions such as Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance are conditions can be associated with this condition
How is this condition Diagnosed?
- Orthopaedic tests such as Phalens or Carpal Compression can help to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ultrasound: To diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome an ultrasound imaging may be used. This will show any inflammation in the area that would be placing pressure on the nerve and causing the symptoms.
- Nerve conduction: Checking the flow of nerve energy travelling through the median nerve in the carpal tunnel by using electrodes. A slow conduction is an indicator of this syndrome.
3 Stretches to help
Today we are going to run through 3 Exercises that can help you manage your carpal tunnel symptoms.
- Wrist flexor stretch
- Wrist extensor stretch
- Prayer stretch
Wrist support braces can be helpful for times when you are going to be doing activities that require repetitive motions or loading onto your wrist.
The above exercises can be helpful when you are experiencing symptoms, but If you do think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome it is important to seek professional help for the diagnosis.