Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A narrowing of the channel through which the median nerve, tendons, and ligaments pass.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the median nerve as it passes from the elbow through the base of the hand. It is a narrowing of the channel through which the median nerve, tendons, and ligaments pass.  When this narrowing occurs, it causes compression. Symptoms may include burning, numbness, severe pain and weakness.  These symptoms can become permanent if not promptly treated.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often associated with repetitive stress injury due to excessive keyboarding. It can also be the result of a number of different factors, including trauma, pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and overuse.  It may even indicate an endocrine disorder. The condition often affects the dominant hand.  Statistics show that women are three times more likely to develop symptoms than men are.

Treatment options include immobilizing the hand and wrist area in order to allow the tissue swelling to subside and relieve pressure on the passage. Physical therapy can also improve symptoms prior to surgical options, but it’s equally important after surgery has been performed. When surgery is chosen by the patient, the nerve and tendon channel is released, relieving the pressure and allowing them to flow more freely. While many people have success with this option, there are no guarantees of a long-term, positive outcome.  Complete recovery is dependent on the patient’s physiology and behavior after carpal tunnel surgery has been performed.

Further Reading on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Mayo Clinic: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

MedicineNet: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

PubMed Health: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wikipedia: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

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Additional Medical Resources: Arthritis Foundation, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Deborah Quilter's RSI Help, Harvard University, The Mayo Clinic, MedicalNewsToday.com, MedicineNet.com, Medline Plus, MedScape Reference, National Institute of Mental Health, NINDS, PubMed.gov, Safe Computing Tips.com, WebMD, University of Maryland Medical Center, Wikipedia