How to Diagnose and Treat a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is pinched in the wrist's anatomical canal (tunnel). As a result of impaired innervation, a secondary decrease in blood circulation and tissue ischemia occur. Surrounding tissues do not receive sufficient nutrition and oxygen, metabolic products are not excreted. As a result, the motor functions of the fingers of the hands fail, and sensitivity decreases or disappears altogether.

This is a fairly common type of neuropathy (a disease that occurs as a result of disruption of the normal functioning of one or another nerve). Tunnel syndrome often occurs when the hand is in a static, unnatural position for a long time or the dynamic work of the hand exceeds the individual physiological capabilities of a person. This type of pathology is associated with certain professions or the performance of a certain type of work.

In addition, excessive sports loads, hormonal failure, injuries, human genetic characteristics, and diseases such as diabetes mellitus (diabetic neuropathy), carpal nerve swelling (secondary neuropathy), gout, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. can provoke the appearance of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The main symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is hand or wrist pain of varying intensity. It may appear intermittently or be permanent.

Tunnel syndrome manifests pain or cramps in the hands, numbness, trembling, itching, and tingling in the fingers, wrists, or palms. The function of the hand also suffers - it is impossible to clench the hand into a fist and hold objects firmly.

If one of these symptoms is detected, you should immediately contact a neurologist and a traumatologist. The doctor will conduct a diagnosis, including examination, neuro myography, and ultrasound examination of the affected area. The specialist will determine the possible conservative or surgical treatment based on the results.

Remember that it is always better to contact a specialist as early as possible, indicating the symptoms in time, than to deal with the consequences later and resort to surgical intervention.

The Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The following factors may be the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Professional, household, and sports loads on the hand and wrist muscles. The main problem, in this case, is the regular unnatural position of the hand and, as a result, an excessive load on a certain muscle group, which is not designed for such a load;
  • Genetic features. It can manifest itself if a person has a too-narrow anatomical canal in the hand, in which tendons and nerves lie;
  • Diseases (gout, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, tendon tumors, thyroid dysfunction);
  • Hormonal imbalance;
  • Injuries (fractures, bruises).
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Today, doctors have enough tools and methods for the conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome in the initial stages of the disease. To restore the function of the hand, and reduce the load, prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections (blockades that relieve swelling and scarring). Physical therapy occupies one of the leading positions in conservative treatment.

It is impossible to achieve a positive result in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome without a significant lifestyle adjustment: it is necessary to limit the load on the hands, completely reduce the tension in the hand, and change the working and rest conditions. In addition, it is important to make the diet as healthy as possible so that the body receives enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals for the speedy recovery of working capacity.

If conservative therapy does not bring results, then it remains to resort to surgical intervention.

The main treatment for hand tunnel syndrome is to relieve pressure (surgical decompression) in the carpal tunnel. As a result, blood circulation improves, and the sheath of the damaged nerve is restored.

The intervention is carried out by an open or endoscopic method. The surgery takes place under anesthesia and is an effective method of treatment, which results in a complete restoration of the functions of the hand. In the postoperative period, it is necessary to carry out a set of rehabilitation measures with a decrease in load and exercise to restore the functions of the muscles of the hand. The recovery period can take up to 2 months - depending on the timeliness of the patient's request for help and the stage of the disease.

To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if your profession is at risk, it is recommended to observe the work schedule and perform physical exercises that relieve tension and improve blood circulation in the hands: shake your hands, squeeze and unclench your fingers, rotate your fists, put your palms opposite each other and alternately press with your palm on the fingers of the adjacent hand so that the palm with the brush arches outward. 

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Friday, 19 July 2024