What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There is a small space in your wrist through which the median nerve in your forearm passes through to your hand. This space is called the carpal tunnel and the median nerve used for performing the major functions of your hand, including being able to make your palm perform right angle tilts to the rest of your hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is categorised by a weakness, a tingling sensation or numbness in a person’s hand, caused due to pressure on the median nerve. Any profession which involves a lot of hand movement, including an IT job with a lot of typing and clicking, is susceptible to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
To test if you have this syndrome, you can use what is commonly known as the Phalen’s sign test. Hold your arms out in front of you and flex your wrists. Let your palms hang down for about a minute. If you feel a tingling sensation, numbness or pain in the fingers within that one minute, you might have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Please seek medical attention immediately to remedy it.
The symbolic symptoms of this syndrome are the ‘pins and needles’ feeling in the fingers. The pain is usually worse at night and sometimes interrupts sleep. A burning sensation might also be felt in the thumb, index and middle fingers. Some people experience a pain that moves up the arm to the elbow. Hand weakness is a common symptom that everyone reports.
How to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Since this syndrome is caused more due to one’s lifestyle, it is best avoided by tweaking a few things in your everyday life. Some common pointers are:
- While performing physical tasks, try to relax your hand and do not grip anything too tightly, beyond a safety limit. In other words, grasp something only hard enough to make sure you are not hurting yourself.
- Keep your hands warm.
- Take frequent breaks while performing repeated or intense tasks with your hands.
- Watch your posture and improve it if it seems too limp.
- Learn simple gymnastic or yoga stretches from a qualified instructor for strengthening your hands. Or read this infographic for a few quick stretching exercises.
Though Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is becoming a more widely seen phenomenon, its incidence can be easily avoided by following some fundamental strategies. Like with all lifestyle related issues, a change in mindset is where things start to change for the better. We hope you have gained enough awareness about this syndrome and would start taking care of your hands more. If you or a loved one is showing symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.