Characterized by a tingling in the wrists that leads to an overall numbness in the hands, Carpal tunnel syndrome affects 3% of women and 2% of men in their lifetime. But what is it?
Widely misunderstood, the term Carpal tunnel has come to be used as a catch-all for a variety of types of hand pain, such as pain related to the use of a computer keyboard for extended periods of time. But according to Dr. Jessica Frankenhoff, a Carpal tunnel syndrome and hand-related surgery specialist at Stony Point Surgery Center, Carpal tunnel syndrome is not caused by typing; in fact, typing can prevent Carpal tunnel.
The Carpal tunnel itself is a small space within the wrist, through which tendons and nerves pass. When these tendons and nerves become swollen, stress is created in the wrist, and Carpal tunnel syndrome develops, which leads to tingling, numbness and pain.
According to Frankenhoff, it is the tingling, which is the result of the flow of blood to the hands being compromised, that is the telltale sign that the patient has Carpal tunnel syndrome rather than general joint pain. As the disease progresses, it leads to numbness and eventually pain.
For some patients, Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated by wearing splints. In more serious cases, a surgery that involves the cutting of the ligament to reduce the pressure is required. But when surgery is needed, it is usually successful, and post-surgery recurrences of Carpal tunnel syndrome are quite rare.
To reduce your risk of Carpal tunnel syndrome, Frankenhoff recommends that you watch your weight, as the obese are at higher risk. She also cites yoga as an activity that can prevent Carpal tunnel from developing.
Source: RVA News