Carpal tunnel syndrome

Do suffer from unusual sensations in either of your hands or your wrists?  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common problem affecting many people especially those who perform repetitive hand and wrist movements.

There are eight small bones called carpal bones which make up three sides of the wrist and these bones form a small tunnel through which a number of tendons and the median nerve travel to supply function to parts of the wrist and hand.  When too much pressure occurs in the tunnel such as may occur if the carpal bones become malpositioned or if there is too much fluid retention in the surrounding tissues, this very sensitive nerve is compromised and symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling and burning occur in areas of the wrist and hand.

If left untreated irreparable nerve damage may occur resulting in hand muscle weakness and atrophy.  There can be coexisting medical conditions associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, and occasionally pregnancy. In many cases once these conditions are brought under control or end in the case of pregnancy, the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome completely clear up.

There are many conservative approaches to the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as warming the hand and wrist, manipulation of the carpal bones to open the tunnel, exercises, ultrasound and even supplementation wiwth witamin B6.  The vitamin B6 acts as a mild diuretic and I have found it to be very effective in certain individuals especially when used in conjuction with other conservative treatment approaches.

When conservative management fails, surgery is often indicated.  The important point to remember is don’t wait to see if it will ljust go away on its own.  The most common words I hear in my practice are, “Doctor, I thought it would j ust go away.”

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