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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem that affects your wrist and ability to perform basic functions without pain. Caused by overuse and strain on your wrist from typing, exercise, or manual labor, carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful and limit your activities.

Carpal tunnelIn your wrist, several nerves run through what is called the Carpal Tunnel. When this tunnel is swollen or decreases in size, these nerves are compressed and will cause pain as a result. Though there are multiple nerves that run through the carpal tunnel, it’s the median nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome, as it is the nerve that supplies feeling to your fingers. Damage to the carpal tunnel can come from excessive typing, writing, texting, gaming, manual labor, or even exercise! Problems like hypothyroidism and diabetes can also contribute to a patient developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Common Symptoms:

If you believe that you may be experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, look for the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling of thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Pain that wakes you up at night
  • Pain while holding a steering wheel or any object for an extended period
  • Pain with prolonged use of the hand, i.e., typing or manual labor

Common Causes:

Carpal tunnel is most likely to affect women, but it can be caused by activities seemingly unavoidable in day-to-day life. This syndrome is most commonly caused by:

  • Extreme dorsi-flexion of the wrist from:
    • Pushups
    • Burpees
    • Weight lifting
  • General overuse
  • Typing excessively
  • Writing excessively

Though these activities may be necessary in your day-to-day life, it’s still possible to treat carpal tunnel through better form and ergonomics while working.

Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Many people fear that surgery is the only fix for carpal tunnel, but there are numerous treatment options that can be tested to find relief. As part of your exam, we will find the best treatment plan for you. This may include:

  • Wrist splints for work and/or sleep
  • Proper ergonomics at work and sports
  • Physical therapy
  • Targeted stretching exercises
  • Avoid extreme dorsi-flexion of wrist
  • Carpal tunnel injections
  • Surgery
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