CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Carpal tunnel syndrome(CTS) is a painful condition of nerve compression at the wrist. Median nerve, is the nerve starting from the shoulder travelling to the hand, supplying muscles and the reason for sensation for thumb, index and middle fingers. While travelling through the wrist, it passes between tendons for fingers and a tight sheet of fascia above it.in this tight space, due to overactivity like a constantly flexed wrists or in extended position( like using keyboard or mouse) the nerve gets squeezed and the affected person gets pain, feeling of tingling and numbness on the 3 fingers. CTS may also be caused due to hypothyroidism, Rheumatoid arthritis, during pregnancy or after fractures at the wrist. It may progress to severe pain and numbness if not handled early.

In the early stages, lifestyle management, change of work pattern , icepack can help stop progress. Treatment of underlying diseas is also important to treat CTS.

Non-steroidal anti inflammatory(NSAIDS) may be used tot reduce the swelling around the nerve and reduce pain also if above mentioned measures don not work. Sometimes, a wrist splint can be used to prevent wrist in abnormal positions for a long time. Computer professionals can use a wrist supporting cushion and stretch their wrists often to prevent CTS.

If pain is persistent, steroid injections can be given around the tunnel to reduce the inflammation of the nerve. In people who get no relief with the above measures, a minor surgery to release the thick fascia above the nerve will decompress the tunnel and give permanent relief.

Proper positioning of wrist at work, exercises and early management will reduce the incidence and progress of pain in carpal tunnel syndrome.