What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common cause for pain and numbness in the hands. There are eight bones in the wrist which are called carpals. They form the tunnel structure. The tunnel has flexor tendons which facilitate finger movements. It provides a pathway for the median nerve to reach the sensory cells in the hand. It occurs due to increased pressure on the median nerve entering the hand through the confined carpal tunnel. This nerve controls the sensations to the palm side of the thumb and the fingers and some impulses to the small muscles of the hand that allows movement of the thumb and fingers. Carpal tunnel Syndrome is more common in women than men. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is also called as Hidden Disability because people can usually work normally with their hands .But, despite this normal hand activity, people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome live with restricted hand movements.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Swellings of tendons that line the carpal tunnel cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is due to repetitive and forceful movements of the wrist during work or leisure. Jobs which require repeated use of small hand tools such as cutting, sewing and small parts assembly lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Prolonged working on the computer also leads to this condition.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The first symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome appear as painful tingling in one or both hands during the night. Most of the times, the tingling is painful enough to disrupt sleep. The fingers feel swollen, even though there is no externally evident swelling. Feeling of numbness, pain and tingling are common. The pain may frequently radiate to the arm and the shoulders. There is also loss of manual dexterity in more advanced cases. Patients may experience difficulty in grasping objects and may continuously drop stuff. The burning, tingling sensation on the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers is called as Parestheseia.There is also reduced power to squeeze things. In some cases, there could be atrophy of the thumb muscle leading to loss of strength. Patients find it difficult to differentiate between hot and cold and simple things become arduous tasks.