Ever wondered about your numb fingers that interfere with your day to day activities? It could be due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which you never in the world have imagined about.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (except the little finger) are controlled by nerves called the median nerves. The median nerves control the movements of these areas with the help of certain muscles. The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow passageway of ligament and bones in the wrist through which the median nerves and the tendons pass from the forearm. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This exerts pressure on the nerve causing pain and tingling in the area. It usually affects the dominant hand first. People with diabetes are more at risk than non-diabetic people. Carpal tunnel Syndrome is kind to kids as they affect only the adults.
You may have
- Gradual but frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand including the fingers. The pain could be so fierce that it could wake you up in the night as you sleep on your hands.
- Some may have pain in half of the ring finger with no pain in the little finger.
- On and off pain in the arm between your hand and elbow.
- The pain increases as you use your hands and wrist trying to hold objects or while flexing the wrist.
- Your gripping strength may weaken making it difficult for you to grip things, form a fist etc.
- In the advanced stages people lose sensation to heat and cold.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worsens with hand movements like typing, sports activities and the like. A while ago, the newspapers were filled with news on a famous player who had to retire from international sports due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
To prevent this, you will have to curtail too much of hand movements as in typing, working with tools and machinery like drills. If you have to use your hands for long durations remember to take frequent breaks, do stretching exercises and maintain the right posture. Keep your wrists warm and protected using fingerless gloves, if need be. You should also keep your wrists healthy by doing wrist exercises regularly. Consult an expert for advice on wrist exercises.
If you already have the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome you can alleviate the pain by taking some extra care at home. On normal conditions, you do not require surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Home treatments and certain drugs can help you out.
- Avoid activities that need bending of your wrists. Try to keep your wrists straight or bend them lightly. Immediately stop the activity if you feel numbness or pain. You can continue with it slowly and gradually if the pain subsides.
- Take of your posture and the positioning of your wrists. Use your chair’s arm supports. It works better if your fingers are kept lower than your wrists.
- Repeated hand movements need to avoided to save trouble. Swift hand movements can worsen pain.
- Take frequent rests.
- Avoid sleeping on your hands so that you don’t wake up with a radiating pain.
- If your fingers stiffen, try exercises.
- Additionally, reduce salt intake and alcoholic beverages.
- Smoking can also worsen the symptoms.
- Lose weight!
However, you should not hesitate to consult your doctor if you have a very weak thumb and cannot hold on to things at all and if you have repetitive pains or numbness in the fingers or hand.
–Aparna K V