Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is not a serious condition, but it can put a hamper on your life when you have it. CTS develops when one of the major nerves leading to the hand becomes compressed as it ventures into the wrist, causing tingling, numbness, and pain in the fingers, hand, and wrist. In most cases, ignoring the pain will worsen the syndrome over time, so you should never wait to receive a diagnosis. That said, carpal tunnel syndrome affects millions of individuals every single year.
Here are some facts about carpal tunnel syndrome to help you figure out if you have CTS or if you already have it, how to manage the condition better.
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What Are The Symptoms of CTS?
The symptoms of CTS begin gradually, usually starting with a burning sensation, tingling, or an itchy numbness that is felt through the palm and fingers. You may have the worst sensation around the thumb and index finger. Some people even say that their affected hand feels stiff or swollen, even when there is no visual enlargement. Lastly, you may have trouble grasping objects or performing tasks that require gripping.
Many people will complain that the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worsen overnight. This is due to the pressure and reduced movement of the body leading to liquid accumulation in the affected hand and arm.
Facts About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome You Should Know
Now, let’s have a look at some surprising facts about CTS:
1. Repetitive motion isn’t the only cause of carpal tunnel syndrome
The common misconception that carpal tunnel syndrome is caused solely from repetitive hand or arm movements, but research has found that is not what happens. The shocking cause is genes. Carpal tunnel syndrome is hereditary, making some people more vulnerable to inflammation than others. Some medical conditions, like sprains and fractures, can also increase your chances of developing CTS.
2. CTS is most common in women
For whatever the reason, whether it is the slimmer frame or female hormones, women are more susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome. The syndrome is common in women over 50 years of age who have jobs in industries with repetitive, rapid motions, including line assembly work, typing, waiting tables, and other similar motions.
3. CTS can be complicated by other health issues
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be exacerbated by obesity, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, diabetes, and other diseases that cause inflammation. The reason is due to the swelling of the affected area, which can put pressure on the nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome. Even if the arms and wrists do not look swollen, any added pressure on the body can influence the pain level of CTS. Rheumatoid arthritis will also complicate CTS.
4. Vitamins can help relieve pain
Research has hinted to the use of proper nutrition and vitamins with lessening the pain and severity of carpal tunnel syndrome. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, has anti-inflammatory properties that can lessen the pressure in the wrist and reduce pain. Therefore, an anti-inflammatory diet may do wonders for you, especially if you are having trouble getting to sleep in the evening. Use ingredients like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pineapple, tea, and capsicum, all of which are excellent in reducing swelling and inflammation.
5. Manual therapies and relaxation work wonders
Since carpal tunnel syndrome is related to taxing the nerve due to overuse and stress, relaxing the muscles and manually increasing circulation can provide some relief. It has been found that chiropractic care of the wrist, shoulder, elbow, and neck can help with limiting pain. You may also be interested in acupuncture, massage therapy, restorative yoga, hot/cold therapies, purchasing an ergonomic workstation, and physical therapy. All of these can be compounded to accelerate the healing process.
Carpal tunnel syndrome might not be life-threatening, but it can slow you down and add more stress to your life than you need. Understanding the syndrome is the first step to deciding on how you will care for yourself and get through it. All in all, a little relaxation, decent nutrition, and even some manual therapies will go a long way.