If you were in the work in the early 90's you probably started hearing a new medical term. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or just plain carpal tunnel. Some feel that the new syndrome has reached epidemic status as millions of people claim to have it.
With all the attention given to painful problem over the past 15 years a solution to the problem is still not available for all cases. The syndrome is fairly easily diagnosed. Some confusion exists as the degree of discomfort will vary between individual and the length of time the condition has exhausted. At times wrist tendonitis is confused with carpal pain.
* What is carpal tunnel?
It is at the base of the hand and more on the hand side than on the wrist. There is a protective covering over the nerves, muscles, tendons and blood vessels feeding the hand. They are all in close proximacy to each other as they neck down passing through the tunnel
* What causes it?
Any damage to the carpal area causes friction in the tunnel and inflammation. This damage can be from holding the hand in a fixed position for extended periods of time. If the hand is in a cramped position while sleeping nerve irritation may result which is then made worse by repetitive stressing. A coup or other injury to the base of the hand could also cause the initial irritation.
* Some symptoms are
Some of the symptoms include numbness, tingling, the pins and needles sensation and loss of strength. In advanced cases there can be severe pain in the base of the hand.
* Can symptoms be reduced or eliminated?
If the pain is excruciating, muscle relaxers and pain relief medicine can be short term help. They will do nothing to eliminate the problem. The problem is most often caused by muscle imbalance. Stretching and flexing the muscles and tendons in the carpal area will often provide relief. In an advanced case this can be very difficult to do. Once a nerve is inflamed it takes a long time to reduce the inflammation and provide healing.
If the irritation occurs regularly as in the hand being in an uncomfortable position while sleeping, a hand brace used only at night can bring about relief.
Your lifestyle can be an important factor. Lack of exercise and a poor diet are some of the factors as well as smoking and excessive drinking. A run down body aids many ailments.
Carpal tunnel surgery is very popular. Many doctors have recommended surgery rather than try some of the techniques available. Surgery is expensive and the convalescent time in some cases is quite long. Statistics provide the following information: 70% of the carpal tunnel operations are successful. 30% are not. Recovery times for an unsuccessful operation can be very long if the full use of the wrist hand relationship is ever restored.
Consult a qualified health care provider, but, look for other ways to address the problem. People are finding relief from the pain and discomfort without surgery. Consult your health care provider for an alternative. A chiropractor as may be a good contact as they understand muscle imbalance.