The onset of carpal tunnel syndrome can be rather subtle and you may simply dismiss the initial sensation as a passing cramp. It may begin with that annoying numbness and tingling sensation that youve felt in the hand and wrist quite often. We only tend to notice anything untoward when afflicted with pain. In all likelihood, you only realized that the problem was less mundane than cramps when you felt the shooting pain from your wrist.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that is brought on by a pinched nerve in the wrist, causing sharp pain to radiate from the wrist through the arm. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway that protects the main nerve to your hand and the tendons as well. When there is excessive pressure on the nerve, the compression of the nerve causes numbness and pain, with a weakening of the hand. These are the main features of carpal tunnel syndrome. The condition may develop because of various factors, such as your wrist anatomy, due to certain underlying health conditions or because of repetitive hand movement patterns. Ailments that cause swelling and inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis are very likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome to develop.
While carpal tunnel syndrome can afflict anyone, it is a lot more common in women. On a positive note, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated quite easily and it does not have to be a lifelong or regular problem. The main focus of the treatment is to enable the wrist to rest so as to give it a chance to recover. You will need to avoid any use of your hands and wrists for activities that could otherwise contribute to the problem. This would include most repetitive hand motions such as from typing.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can produce some or all of these symptoms:
In most patients, these symptoms tend to be a lot more severe at night and the pain may even cause you to wake up from your sleep. This tendency is attributed to the sleeping position that most of us maintain with flexed wrists. It could also be caused by fluid accumulation around the wrist and hands when laying flat. The duration of the condition also tends to vary, with some individuals experiencing it simply as a temporary phenomenon that resolves naturally, while in others it can persist and worsen progressively.
In the initial stages carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms may be so mild that they go unnoticed or may even be neglected as they do not cause much of a problem. With the passage of time the condition worsens however and you may even begin to experience a burning sensation. The cramping also worsens and the gradual loss of strength will severely affect your ability to grip and hold objects. Muscle atrophy is also quite common, particularly in case of chronic carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome should not be neglected, no matter how trivial it may seem. Ignoring the condition can lead to muscle and nerve damage.
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes are not always identifiable, but the condition usually results from repetitive stress injuries. Any condition that subjects the median nerve in the wrist to excessive pressure can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Some physical and health conditions that could lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome include pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and hypothyroidism. Wrist injuries can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome to develop. Anyone who spends prolonged periods engaged in any activity that requires repetitive movements like typing may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Some activities that put you at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome include painting, driving, typing, sewing, writing, the use of precision tools or heavy machinery, sports like table tennis or handball and playing some musical instruments.
Diseases like amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, and multiple myeloma can cause a buildup of abnormal substances in and around the carpal tunnel, which then results in nerve irritation, but these conditions are extremely rare.
Home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome can help to cope with the symptoms, but they are not meant to be a substitute for medical attention. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of carpal tunnel remedies can vary from individual to individual, so you will actually need to experiment to find a home remedy for carpal tunnel that suits you. Before you try out any carpal tunnel home treatment, make it a point to check with your health care provider.
The main focus of treatment is rest and physiotherapy. Natural remedies for carpal tunnel work along the same principles:
If there is no respite from the symptoms despite the use of both conventional and natural methods of treatment, you may need to undergo surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome to release the pressure on the nerve. This is a minor surgery that does not require overnight hospitalization and usually lasts just an hour.
There may not be any specific diet for carpal tunnel syndrome, but following a healthy diet is important. It may be a good idea to include foods like flax seed, pumpkin seeds, avocados and nuts in your diet because they are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation. Seafood and lean poultry can also be quite healthy for the same reason. At the same time, it is advisable to cut down on fatty foods, red meats and alcohol.
Supplements of vitamin B12 can also help to control carpal tunnel syndrome, but you need to consult a nutritionist for the required dosage. Studies into the effects of vitamin B12 on the condition have so far been promising.
Enzyme supplements like bromelain may also be recommended for the condition as this can help to reduce swelling in the wrists.