Irving Primary Care

Carpal Tunnel – A Common Source of Pain and Discomfort in Hands

Have you experienced some numbness in your hand lately? Does the tingling sensation cause you to jerk your hand or scratch it? Does it fall asleep or causes pain when moved after some time?

All these are symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel is a health condition in which the sufferer experiences weakness, numbness, or a tingling sensation in his hands, especially in the wrists. The pain is experienced because the median nerve is being pressed against the wrist. Confused? Let us further elaborate to see what actually happens.

The carpal canal is a narrow but rigid passageway between the ligaments and the bones located at the base of the hand. The median nerve and tendons are also located in the same region. Whenever tendons become inflamed or irritated, they swell, putting pressure on the median nerve which then rubs against the wrist. The recurrent rubbing causes further pain and swelling of the nerve.

How Common Is It?

  • Carpel tunnel syndrome is the second most common reason of missed work days globally.
  • More than 8 million new cases of carpel tunnel are diagnosed in America annually.
  • Carpal tunnel is more common in women than men. 45% of cases are diagnosed in working women. Women are at a two-third risk of attaining hand-related injuries and strains.

Signs and Symptoms

Diagnosing the symptoms of carpal tunnel is difficult. They aren’t persistent unlike other health conditions, but come and go. The first alarming signs may include some numbness or tingling in the first three fingers of the hand which goes away on its own. The numbness, however, must not be taken lightly and you should consult with a physician.

Other symptoms may include:

  • A burning sensation
  • Pain in the wrist that interferes with sleep
  • Weakness or swelling in the hand
  • Dropping of things
  • Hands falling asleep

Prevention

Carpal tunnel is not a chronic health condition, which means it can be treated overtime. Medical experts still don’t know how to prevent it, but there are many exercises and practice that minimize the stress on the wrist and the hand. These include:

  • Relax the grip on your hand and fingers. If you work as a cashier or on a computer, try hitting the keys on the keyboard or cash register gently.
  • If writing for long durations such as recording a meeting, use a large pen with free-flowing ink and an oversized adapter.
  • Perform simple stretching exercises for the hand by taking frequent breaks between repetitive works.
  • Avoid excessive bending of the wrist.
  • Change your computer’s mouse.
  • Try keeping your hands warm as you will be more prone to stiffness in a cold environment.

If you still feel that the numbness doesn’t go away or worsens at time, leaving you helpless to perform even the most basic of tasks such as picking up things, shaking hands or enjoying a full range of movement, seek medical assistance. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Parikh at Health One Family Medicine to learn more about the condition so that you have a better chance of treating it before it worsens. Call 469-262-5762, or visit www.healthonemedicine.com for more information.

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