We hear a lot about carpal tunnel nowadays. The increase in computer use and texting in our everyday lives has this and other repetitive stress injuries (RSI) on the rise. In fact, not only has the number of computer users increased from 5 million to 50 million in the past 10 years but the increased use of video games and text messaging has created new RSI’s such as texter’s thumb and spread these types of injuries from adults to youths and teens.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is caused by the median nerve being compressed as it travels through the carpal tunnel (a tunnel that protects both the median nerve and the nine tendons that bend your fingers.) This results in motor and sensory disturbance of the median nerve, adversely affecting the hands and causing pain, paresthesias and weakness.
Though repetitive stress can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, there are many cases of CTS that have no specific cause and even those who may be genetically predisposed the condition.
Symptoms can include:
- Tingling sensations in the arm, neck and shoulders
Many times symptoms appear more prominent at night. Medical treatments for CTS include night splints, corticosteroid injections and surgery. Fortunately, there are non-medical preventions that can help to relieve pain, numbness and aid in restoring normal use of your wrists and hands that can be explored before seeking medical intervention.
If you suspect you may be on the road to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or any other RSI, give us a call, we may be able to help. Also, see our next blog in this series on “Preventing Carpal Tunnel,” or our entry on “Muscle Strain & Fatigue from Computer Use: Arms, Hands and Wrists”