With the wide spread use of computers, tablets, and smartphones the way papers are written has changed so have the pattern of injuries to the hand in people who write a lot! In the era of computers excessive use of keyboard and mouse control has led to an increase in particular diseases of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which median nerve, the nerve that transmits sensation and motor innervation to the muscle of hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.
The carpal tunnel is a passageway that conveys median nerve from forearm through the wrist to the hand. The tunnel is made of bony and ligamentous structures. However, the only nerve that participates in this anatomic part of the wrist is the median nerve. Any condition that causes thickness, irritation or inflammation to the tendons in the tunnel or causes a swelling inside the tunnel can compress the median nerve.
Nerve compression inevitably and over time leads to sensation of pain, numbness, loss of muscle mass and weak grip. Symptoms usually start gradually rather than an abrupt onset of pain. Burning, tingling or itching numbness in the palm of your hand and fingers, are generally the first presenting symptoms.
Here are some general presentations of the carpal tunnel syndrome.
· Numbness, tingling, burning sensation in hand and thumb.
· Pain in your wrist or hand in one or both hands
· Problems grasping in one or both hands
How carpal tunnel syndrome develops is not fully understood. Although a natural narrow carpal tunnel can lead to the disease, but more often the disease is caused by overusing of the hands. Most commonly typing on keyboards is the cause. Other repetitive activities like sewing, assembly line workers, painting or even working can contribute to disease formation.
In management of carpal tunnel syndrome, though surgery provides definitive results, if the causative behavior is corrected, surgery can be delayed. Anti-inflammatory medications, rest and splints are the main stay of treatment in patients who like to reserve surgery as the last resort!