Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms Tests Treatments

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms, Tests & Treatments
Carpal tunnel syndrome CTS is​ a​ devastating injury that affects more than 8 million people in​ the​ United States and​ continues to​ increase each and​ every year.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is​ one of​ many repetitive strain injuries RSI’s that are everywhere; homes, offices, assembly lines, grocery stores, book clubs, construction sites, dental offices, everywhere! Because carpal tunnel syndrome is​ so commonplace, and​ its effects so devastating, it​ is​ important to​ be knowledgeable of​ how it​ occurs, what its symptoms are, the​ testing methods used and​ what treatment options are available, as​ the​ prevention of​ any injury, especially carpal tunnel, begins with education.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is​ a​ disorder affecting the​ median nerve, which supplies function to​ the​ thumb, index, middle and​ one half of​ the​ ring finger. Usually the​ symptoms are most prevalent in​ the​ thumb, index and​ middle fingers Sometimes onehalf of​ the​ ring finger and​ include numbness, tingling, paresthesia pins and​ needles, pain and​ tightness in​ the​ front of​ the​ hand, wrist and​ forearm. These symptoms do not have to​ occur simultaneously, and​ may only affect one finger one day and​ then three fingers a​ few days later.
If a​ doctor provides a​ carpal tunnel diagnoses and​ the​ symptoms are in​ the​ ring and​ little fingers, it​ is​ NOT carpal tunnel syndrome! the​ ulnar nerve, not the​ median nerve, supplies function to​ the​ ring and​ little finger. Repetitive strain disorders affecting these two fingers are usually either Guyon’s syndrome, entrapment of​ the​ ulnar nerve in​ the​ guyon’s canal at​ the​ wrist junction, or​ cubital tunnel syndrome, entrapment of​ the​ ulnar nerve at​ the​ elbow junction. This is​ a​ common mistake made by many, many physicians and​ is​ completely inexcusable as​ they often recommend surgery for​ the​ patient, causing the​ patient to​ undergo an unnecessary procedure, and​ what makes it​ worse, for​ the​ wrong disorder!
If symptoms of​ carpal tunnel syndrome do arise, doctors will recommend that a​ nerve conduction velocity NCV test or​ an Electromoyogram EMG be performed to​ see if​ carpal tunnel syndrome truly exists. These tests are often painful to​ the​ individual being tested, very expensive, and​ often give false positives and​ false negatives. This is​ why it​ is​ recommended that manual carpal tunnel tests be performed in​ order to​ obtain a​ more accurate and​ much cheaper diagnosis. Manual carpal tunnel tests take no longer than 10 minutes, have a​ high accuracy rate, are painless and​ are very cheap in​ comparison to​ the​ NCV and​ EMG tests.
The recommended manual carpal tunnel tests consist of​ the​ following
· Phalen’s Test the​ wrist is​ flexed for​ 30 to​ 60 seconds in​ order to​ compress the​ median nerve and​ duplicate/increase the​ symptoms.
· Reverse Phalen’s Test the​ wrist is​ extended for​ 30 to​ 60 seconds in​ order to​ stretch the​ median nerve and​ duplicate/increase the​ symptoms. Stretching the​ median nerve if​ it​ is​ already impinged will duplicate/increase the​ symptoms if​ a​ patient has carpal tunnel syndrome.
· Tinnel Sign Tapping directly over the​ median nerve at​ the​ wrist junction will cause carpal tunnel symptoms to​ exhibit themselves.
· Compression Test Direct pressure is​ applied over the​ location of​ the​ median nerve for​ 3060 seconds to​ see if​ carpal tunnel symptoms are exhibited.
If a​ positive diagnosis comes back, most doctors will push for​ surgery, a​ procedure that has a​ terrible success rate and​ is​ to​ only be performed as​ a​ last resort once all other conservative treatment methods have been utilized. Conservative therapy is​ the​ key to​ successfully recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome and​ obtaining not only shortterm but longterm relief as​ well. the​ following is​ a​ list of​ conservative treatments that should be utilized in​ order to​ help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing, but also rehabilitating carpal tunnel syndrome after it​ is​ already present.
· Ergonomics Utilize proper ergonomic tools and​ equipment when working.
· Breaks Take short breaks every 30 minutes when working in​ order to​ help reduce excessive strain on the​ hands.
· Stretches Stretch the​ muscles that ‘close’ the​ hands as​ these are the​ muscles that are exercised all day long in​ activities such as​ typing, writing, gripping a​ steering wheel, using a​ computer mouse, carrying groceries and​ everything else that is​ done day in​ and​ day out. When a​ muscle is​ involved in​ exercise, it​ becomes shorter, therefore it​ needs to​ be stretched and​ lengthened both during and​ after the​ exercises are completed. End of​ day
· Exercises Exercise and​ strengthen the​ muscles that are used to​ ‘open’ the​ hands, as​ these muscles do not receive much direct stimuli / exercise. i. e. People do not turn doorknobs, hold things, type, use a​ computer mouse or​ lift things with the​ backs of​ their hands.
The information provided above reveals how carpal tunnel syndrome occurs, what its symptoms are, the​ testing methods most commonly used and​ the​ best conservative treatment options that are used to​ thwart its existence.
It is​ very important for​ individuals to​ become well acquainted with the​ proper information and​ tools in​ order to​ maintain and​ increase their level of​ health and​ productivity. it​ is​ also important for​ people to​ speak to​ their doctors regarding their health concerns, and​ if​ someone is​ involved in​ an occupation that is​ considered highrisk for​ carpal tunnel, they should discuss this with their physician, but is​ even more critical that people become self educated as​ no one can take care of​ you better than YOU!

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