Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that develops due to repetitive strain on the nerve running from your forearm to the palm of your hand, as it becomes compressed. The nerve, referred to as the median nerve, is protected by a narrow channel of bones and ligaments. Repetitive movements, especially those that put the wrists in a compromised, anatomically unnatural position, will eventually aggravate the nerve and cause CTS and its symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common form of neuropathy, accounting for around 90% of cases.
Dr. Salman Saeed of the West TN Neurology clinic has years of experience in diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Diagnosis is fairly straightforward, with a simple physical exam and insights into your daily habits being all that is necessary to identify carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is that doctors have a strong understanding of which activities lead to carpal tunnel and have developed methods to alleviate your pain and restore proper function to your hands and wrists.
Professions That Commonly Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
- Manufacturing – often involves very repetitive, twisting, or forceful actions over 8-hour shifts
- Assembly line work – repetitive tasks, vibrations from installation tools, poor posture
- Typing occupations – typing places the wrists in a compromised position
- Construction work – labor-intensive, high impact, tool vibrations, often highly repetitive
- Production sewer, tailor, garment worker/stitcher
- Agricultural worker
- Cafeteria persons
How Can I Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
You can prevent CTS by making lifestyle changes that reduce your risk factors or by avoiding certain activities that are known to cause or worsen the condition.
At The Workplace
If your job is the cause of your carpal tunnel, there are a few steps you can take to limit your exposure.
- Ask your employer to provide a task that is less compromising for your wrists
- Take breaks as often as you can
- Maintain the best wrist posture possible
- Use physical therapy methods to alleviate symptoms
Many people are unaware that carpal tunnel syndrome can be exacerbated by health conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Rheumatoid arthritis
By doing what you can to manage and regulate those conditions, you can actually reduce the risk or alleviate the severity of your carpal tunnel symptoms.
Overextending the wrists, either upward or downward as well as to the side, puts pressure on the carpal tunnel. This pressure leads to the aggravation of the carpal nerve and the development of CTS. That being said, your general body posture is equally as important. Slouching shoulders and a rounded back can affect the posture of the arms and wrists as well. This means your body may develop a posture that is putting unnatural strain on the majority of the joints in your body, so sit up and do what you can to keep your wrists straight!
Carpal Tunnel Treatment Options
Your treatment path depends on the severity of your condition and any health issues that could aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. Non-surgical treatment options include:
- Prescription medication to relieve pain and inflammation
- Splinting to immobilize the joint
- Lifestyle changes to reduce wrist strain
- Alternative therapies, like yoga or acupuncture
Surgery can also improve carpal tunnel syndrome. During surgery, a wrist ligament is severed to reduce median nerve pressure. That ligament usually heals over time in a configuration that allows more space near the median nerve. Surgery can be done through an open procedure or using an endoscope.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment Available in Bartlett, Tenessee
If you are concerned about carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to learn more about preventative measures, or are looking to receive treatment, reach out to the specialists at West TN Neurology for more information. Call our offices to speak with a member of our team or schedule an appointment online today!