Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Prevention is always better than cure, but if you do have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, there are different treatments you can try.

The most tempting option when your wrist hurts would be to pop a couple of pain killers and get on with your work. However, while pain killers will help the pain subside for a while, it will just hit you again once the effect wears off. Anti-inflammatory medicines will be of more help.

The pain in the wrist and palm is because your median nerve in the wrist is compressed. The median nerve passes through the carpel tunnel, which is the area in your wrist surrounded on three sides by the carpals and on one by ligaments. There are nine tendons in this tunnel, so, especially for people with small wrists, it can be a tight squeeze for the nerve. In some cases, a tumour in this region, usually benign, is the reason why the median nerve is compressed. In most cases, though, inflammation of the tendons is the real reason why the median nerve gets compressed. This means that anti-inflammatory medicines can relieve much of the pain and discomfort, together with proper rest and support for the wrist.

A wrist splint is also a good idea for people who might just be beginning to recognize the symptoms of CTS. Some people also seem to get relief when cold and hot compresses are alternately applied. If the hot compress gives more relief, though, chances are that it is not CTS at all. CTS has got so much publicity lately that all pain or tingling in the palm is mistakenly thought to be CTS. Plain old tendonitis could be your problem, too.

There are certain schools of thought that consider that stress is the main cause for most Repetitive Strain Injuries. While stress is probably not the cause for CTS, it is true that high stress levels can aggravate the condition. This is why exercises like Yoga, which not only keep you fit, but also helps you calm your mind, help people suffering from CTS.

The last resort is usually surgery. The success rates for surgery are uncertain. While over 90% people felt much better after the surgery according to some studies, over 70% reported recurrence according to others. Surgically relieving the pressure on the median nerve, though, is the last option for people with severe CTS. After the surgery, of course, the patient has to be careful – take plenty of breaks, not strain the wrist too much, maintain correct posture, use ergonomic chairs and other instruments. With such precautions, CTS can definitely be held at bay.

There are also plenty of people who swear by alternative medicines of many sorts, though they have not gained any significant recognition, nor have they been investigated properly.

Dealing with CTS requires some major lifestyle changes, and it can take time to work out a strategy. For short-term management of the condition, though, localized steroid injections can help. This is strictly a short-term remedy, though.

Once those lifestyle changes have been effected, CTS can be beaten and you can go on to lead a full life, as long as you are willing to take a few precautions.

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