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Carpal tunnel syndrome

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder caused by pressure exerted on the median nerve found in the wrist, specifically in the anatomical region of the carpal tunnel. This nerve controls the movement of the thumbs and almost all fingers. In most cases, it is the dominant hand that is affected by this disease.

With a prevalence of 5.8% in adult women and 0.6% in men, this syndrome is characterized by a misleading onset, which can delay the diagnosis, which is completely clinical. If symptoms continue and worsen, surgery may be necessary to enlarge the tunnel or make more space and reduce pressure on the nerve. But symptoms can usually be relieved without surgery. When the condition is identified, it is necessary to change habits, for example: using the affected hand less frequently, this means avoiding using gadgets or mobile devices and, if possible, keeping the wrist splinted in a straight position.

The Expert Council on Occupational Diseases of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) recommended carpal tunnel syndrome as an occupational disease, based on a meta-analysis carried out in 2011 in which 87 relevant studies were included and identified various risk factors associated with this syndrome, such as: heavy manual work, high manual effort and vibration, as well as repetitions in chronic hand movements and flexions.

However, despite the prevalence and impact of this condition on health systems, there is still much controversy regarding the optimal therapy, some of the most used are:

  • Corticosteroid injection: It has been used for its anti-inflammatory effect. Different types of corticosteroids have been used, such as hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone or triamcinolone, generally in association with a local anesthetic.
  • Oral supplements and medications: The effects of vitamin B6 in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome were established based on reports of research with a small number of participants. It was thought that the improvement observed in some cases was due to the resolution of some previously undiagnosed neuropathy or to the analgesic action on the painful tract.
  • Exercise therapy and mobilization techniques: Various researchers suggest this therapy because it improves symptoms by preventing or stretching adhesions between the tendons and the median nerve, decreasing tenosynovial edema, improving venous return and, therefore, reducing pressure within the carpal tunnel.
  • Wrist immobilization: Avoiding extreme wrist position reduces pressure within the carpal tunnel and neutral wrist position improves hemodynamic parameters, reduces edema, and minimizes nerve friction and compression.

Carpal tunnel syndrome risk factors:

Some of the risk factor's that can increase the chances of developing this disease are:

  • The anatomy of your wrist.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • Hereditary factors
  • If you are going through menopause.
  • If you have kidney failure problems.
  • If you live overweight or take oral contraceptives.
  • The repetitive movements you can do with your hands every day.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome develop gradually. Initially, you may feel numbness and pain that comes and goes in your wrist, thumb, index finger, and middle finger. After a period of time without treatment, symptoms They can be aggravated both during the day and at night.

The symptoms you should pay attention to are:

  • Numbness or numbness in the thumb, ring finger, index finger, and wrist.
  • Pain and numbness in the wrist.
  • UrinationTingling or pain that goes from the forearm to the shoulder is painful.
  • Muscle weakness in the affected hand.
  • Sensation of spasm that spreads towards the fingers.

For some years now, carpal tunnel syndrome has been classified as an occupational disease, this means that it is a disease generally caused by work activity. If your job requires you to spend a lot of time at the computer with your wrist or arm flexed, you may be more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

It is important that you see a doctor so that you receive appropriate treatment in time and reduce the risk of symptoms worsening. The treatment that is administered will depend on the progress of the disease and the history you have. Treatment can be conservative or surgical.


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