A Patient’s Guide

We’re all tempted to avoid going to the doctor and diagnosing nagging pains ourselves. With the hectic schedules everybody has today, this is only natural. It’s also easy to ignore things until they become much worse than they have to be. This leads to the aggravation of a lot of conditions that could easily have been cured much earlier. This is something that happens very often with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS.

There are certain signature symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Tingling of your palm, easily mistaken to be your palm simply ‘falling asleep’
  • Pain in the wrist or palm
  • Numbness or pain in your thumb, forefinger, middle finger and at times your ring finger
  • Pain when you bend your wrist forward
  • Thumb seems weak, especially while gripping objects
  • Predominant wrist pain during the night, with significant numbness when you wake up

If you have some or all of these symptoms, chances are that you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, before you can be certain that you have CTS, there are certain other causes that you have to rule out. Here are some of the most common of such ailments.

  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Reynaud’s Phenomenon
  • Autoimmune diseases

There are certain other factors you can keep in mind when you are trying to make up your mind. CTS is most prevalent in people over forty two, and occurs in three women for every man with CTS. It also seems to be more prevalent in people who are obese. Hypothyroidism and pregnancy cause fluid retention, which can be a cause for CTS. Tumours and Acromegaly, a hormone disorder, are also causes of CTS.

Trauma is another cause. If you have bent your wrist back severely, or applied too much pressure to your lower arm – for instance, if you fell down on your arm or your hand – you could have triggered Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

One way to find out if you have CTS is to bend your wrist as much as you can for about sixty seconds. If by then your thumb, forefinger and middle finger, and maybe part of your ring finger, start to go numb, you could have CTS.

Repetitive action that puts pressure on your wrist is considered to be a cause of CTS, as well. Avoiding as much of this and taking frequents breaks if you cannot avoid such work is a good beginning, if you want to either avoid the onset of CTS or cure it. Diagnosing it as soon as possible is important. If you don’t, and the condition is aggravated, you might find that the muscles at the base of your thumb are wasting away.

Surgery is the remedy that has the best success rate, but anti-inflammatory medicines help counter the condition, too. Pain killers might give you temporary relief. If you want to avoid surgery, the best thing to do is make sure that you don’t flex your wrist too much, or put too much pressure on it. If there is an underlying cause, like hypothyroidism, treating that is the best way of getting rid of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

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