Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) affects 4 to 10 million Americans every year. It is considered the most common nerve disorder that middle-aged and older individuals experience. Females are three times more prone to developing this condition than males.
CTS mainly affects the hands, particularly the fingers (excluding the pinkie). As a result, it can severely affect the productivity and life of a person.
Though symptoms may start from a mild occasional pain and tingling sensation in the fingers, it can develop into a severe stage which can eventually weaken the hand, losing some of its sensations and ultimately reducing hand function.
What People Know About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Most people believe that when there is pain and discomfort in the wrist, palm and fingers this could be caused by too much strain on the hand and muscles due to overuse. Thus there is no cause for alarm as rest is enough to normalize the condition. This can be true. However, CTS can also be caused by some underlying factors. If it becomes worse, this can lead to a more serious medical condition.
CTS cannot always be healed by resting the hands. Sometimes hand issues can be caused by nerve damage, a hand injury, or other medical conditions.
It is always advised that once you have symptoms you should check with your neurologist especially if the problem becomes frequent and seems to be advancing.
Your neurologist can diagnose CTS and other neurological conditions. He or she can help eliminate the symptoms or even treat the condition.
CTS is highly treatable in its early stage. However, without treatment it may advance and become irreversible once permanent damage to the hand muscles and nerves have occurred.
What Can Cause Median Nerve Compression?
CTS is caused by many factors. When there is an inflammation or swelling in any part of your wrist that puts pressure on the carpal tunnel, this can ultimately pinch the median nerve. As a result, blood flow is obstructed.
The most common medical causes for the median nerve becoming compressed can be any of the following:
Symptoms That Show The Occurrence Of CTS
Like other neurological conditions, describing your symptoms can help your doctor determine if CTS is really the case. The following symptoms can indicate CTS.
Who is more at risk?
As mentioned, women are more likely to develop CTS although no one can be spared from it. It is also commonly seen among the populations between the ages of 30 and 60. Typically, these are the ages when people tend to be more active in their work and become more prone to injury.
Among the older people, those who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis also tend to have a higher risk for experiencing CTS. These conditions mainly affect the nerves. Other contributory factors can be habit, lifestyle, diet and weight regardless of your age and gender.
There are also certain activities that put people of any age at the higher risk of developing CTS. These activities include:
How CTS Could Be Prevented?
There are no surefire ways of preventing carpal tunnel.
The good news is if you are required to do repetitive work, you can do something to reduce strain and prevent the occurrence of CTS. Consider the following:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually diagnosed and treated by a neurologist.
A neurologist specializes in the study and treatment of neurological disorders. Since the nervous system involves the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (sensory receptors like the eyes, skin and ears), a neurologist can help patients overcome problems that emanate from nerves, brain and spinal cord issues.
To better diagnose the condition of CTS, your neurologist will conduct specific tests to assess the nerve function in your hand. Such tests include a Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) and the Electromyography (EMG). These procedures help the neurologist evaluate the level of electrical signals that travel inside your wrist and determine the degree of the nerve damage.
Finding a qualified neurologist is crucial for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Eventually the pain and numbness you feel in your hand and fingers can be greatly reduced or even prevented.
With treatments, you can regain the strength and normal use of your hands and be able to work without discomfort.
Treatments after diagnosis may involve the use of a splint, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy or in severe cases, surgery. You will also be advised on the proper care of your hands to prevent future problems.
Here at Mir Neurology and Spine Center, we are able to help. Dr. Sarim Mir is our Board Certified Neurologist with over 20 years of experience. He can perform tests to help diagnose CTS.
Stop suffering in silence. Don’t wait. Contact us today for a consultation. Our scheduling team is available at 301-797-7600.