A disorder that affects the wrists and hands, carpal tunnel syndrome is often thought of as just a simple cramp that will go away when the hands are properly rested. Because of lack of information, most of us would ignore the signs and symptoms of this disorder, only seeking treatment when it is already in its late stages. For that to be avoided, it would help to learn about what carpal tunnel syndrome is all about.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) happens when the median nerve is compressed. This is the nerve that travels inside the carpal tunnel, which is responsible for the sensations felt by the palms and fingers. It is also responsible for the movement of the small muscles that are located in the said area. When the tissues within the carpal tunnel are swollen or there is a change in position, the median nerve can be squeezed and irritated which will then lead to the condition referred to as CTS.

In most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, the underlying cause is not known. However, there are certain risk factors that predispose a person to developing CTS. There are certain conditions that are associated with CTS development and these include arthritis, diabetes, pregnancy, obesity, hypothyroidism, leukemia and amyloidosis. Studies have also found out that CTS can develop when there is repetitive work which causes an inflammation in the tendons. These jobs include continuous typing and packing of meat, fish and other goods. It can also occur if there is repeated stress injury on the hands and the wrists.

During the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, the initial signs and symptoms include numbness and a tingling sensation of the hands, with the dominant hand being the first one affected. These symptoms usually awaken a person from sleep during night time, which can be attributed to the accumulation of fluids at the hands and wrists or when these are maintained at a flexed position. When this is not managed properly, it will then progress with symptoms that are more severe than the initial ones. You may feel a cramping or burning sensation on the hands as well as weakness. There are some who are unable to form a fist or grip smaller objects. The pain is not just localized at the hands but it can also be felt at the forearms. For chronic CTS, there can be muscle wasting at the hands especially at the base of the thumb.

The treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of your condition and if there are underlying diseases that are causing it. For the initial treatment, you will need to immobilize the wrists through a splint, apply ice on the affected area and have enough rest. You should also do range of motion exercises and if possible, do it with a physical therapist so that he can ensure if you are doing the right ones. There are medications that will be given for CTS and these include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the pain and to decrease inflammation, corticosteroids to relieve the symptoms as well as Vitamin B6 supplements. For severe cases, surgery may need to be done to correct any problems that are causing CTS.

If you know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, then you will be treated as early as possible. You will then be able to recover fast and avoid any complications that might happen.

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