Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway - about as big as the thumb - located on the inside of the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful hand and arm condition caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. When the nerve is compressed it causes numbness, pain, and weakness of the hand - signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes Most noticeable at night or in the morning, the condition is triggered by diabetes, gout, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, or fractures of the wrist. Women are three times more at risk than men. People who type a lot or use vibrating hand tools are also at a higher risk.
Symptoms Weakness in the thumb and first two fingers, difficulty in making a fist or grasping objects firmly or buttoning a shirt, etc. Some people feel a swelling in their fingers, though nothing is visible. Or they may have trouble distinguishing between hot and cold.
Managing the Condition
• Rest the hands and wrists by wearing a brace to limit movement, especially at night to prevent the wrist from twisting during sleep.
• A cold compress will help reduce pain.
• Stretching exercises help prevent pain, numbness, and weakness.
• Yoga can also help improve grip strength.
* Avoid sleeping on the hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be prevented by
• Maintaining a good posture.
• Making sure the workstation is comfortable and the wrists and hands are supported while working, especially on a computer/laptop.
• Stretching the hands and wrists regularly.
• Taking frequent breaks to move the arms and legs, leaning back, and changing positions.