Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually a result of compression/pressure on a nerve in your wrist. This compression may lead to feelings of pain, numbness or tingling in some of the fingers or in the palm of the hand.
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome has been associated with poor posture while typing or using your hands. It is also commonly seen in groups of people that perform repetitive motions or overuse their hands and wrists. Some examples include phone use, manufacturing tasks, hammering, playing video game play, power tool usage, and many more.
The carpal tunnel is a space (as the name suggest like a tunnel to travel through) in the wrist, bound by tendons and the carpal ligament.
The median nerve travels to the hand through the carpal tunnel.
Inflammation/swelling of structures within the tunnel can cause compression/pressure on the median nerve.
This pressure causes the median nerve to deform and function decreases (causing weakness) or becomes overly stimulated (numbness and tingling) or both in severe cases.
What are the symptoms of Carpal
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may appear in one or both hands.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain, numbness, tingling or burning in the fingers.
- The fingers associated with these symptoms are specific to the median nerve and include thumb, index and middle fingers and the thumb side of the ring finger.
- The palm of the hand may also be affected.
- These symptoms may start at night and may wake you from sleep.
- These symptoms may be intermittent at first and come and go.
- These symptoms may gradually get worse over time.
- Weakness in the affected hand.
- Most of the weakness occurs at the thumb and index finger. This may make it difficult to hold a coffee cup or pencil.
- In severe cases the muscles at the base of the thumb may decrease in size (atrophy).
How to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The best way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome is to avoid repetitive motion activities using your hands. Let’s be real though; this is not possible for most. We must type, write, use our phones, and use other manual or power hand tools if the job requires it. And let’s not forget video games.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Prevention Pathway
The art and science of adapting your physical workspace and surroundings to function best with your specific needs.
Proper posture, position and motion are critical to prevention. It impossible to achieve any of these without the proper workstation setup and healthy mobility.
The practice of performing mobilization and exercises to maintain proper functioning of the musculoskeletal system (joints, muscles and everything connecting them).
Warm-ups, stretches and strengthening exercises specifically designed to address risks to your mobility health from your environment (work and home).
Injury and strain due to fatigue is very common and avoidable with proper rest intervals. Microbreaks during activities decrease injury risks.
It doesn’t take a lot of downtime to allow your body to recover and reset. Depending on the activity rest may just be one minute for every twenty minutes of activity.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treated?
More Facts about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- To You: direct costs of maximizing insurance deductibles and out of pocket max plus the costs of reduced quality of life, lost productivity due to time away from work, and potential disability.
- To Employers: direct costs of over $6000 per case plus the cost of quality, lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.
- To the U.S. Economy: direct care costs over $70 billion every year plus the costs of lost productivity and disability.
How Common is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
FAQs about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Without insurance, the average cost of carpal tunnel surgery in 2020 is $6,928 per hand. With insurance, the copayment (including aftercare, therapy, and rehab) is about $1,000, according to Cost Helper Health.
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