Over eight million people suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. The surgical operation to relieve symptoms has become the second most common musculoskeletal procedure, with back surgery being the most common. But what exactly is this syndrome and what does it affect?
The syndrome occurs when the median nerve, located in the carpal tunnel within the wrist/forearm, becomes compressed. When it is compressed, it causes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the fingers, wrist, or even your arm(s). However, only the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring fingers are affected; there are no symptoms in the pinky finger. The compression occurs due to the tissue in the carpal tunnel region becoming inflamed.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome, there are multiple causes and risk factors. One of the main contributing factors is repetitive motion; some activities that may increase your chance of developing this condition are gymnastics or tennis. Other risks include previous fracture or dislocation of the wrist, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammation in the tendons, as well as pregnancy.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated in a variety of ways. Some simple ways to reduce pain and inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic, are:
- Take breaks to rest your wrists
- Avoid activities that increase the pain or make your symptoms worse
- Ice your wrists from time to time to help reduce inflammation
Another way is through the use of splints. Wearing splints on your wrist to hold them in a set position overnight can help reduce the inflammation. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help temporarily relieve pain as well. Some common NSAIDs are aspirin (Bayer, Excedrin), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), and naproxen (Aleve).
Medical Treatments for Carpal Tunnel
If none of those treatments seem to be effective, corticosteroid injection is another option. With the corticosteroid injection method, a steroid such as cortisone is injected into the carpal tunnel to help relieve pain. These steroids reduce swelling and inflammation, helping to decrease the amount of pressure on the median nerve.
As a last resort, your doctor may recommend surgery; this surgery is known as carpal tunnel release. During this surgery, the ligament that is pressing on the median nerve is cut, releasing the pressure and therefore relieving of carpal tunnel syndrome’s painful symptoms. This can be done either through endoscopic surgery, which utilizes cameras to perform the procedure or through an open surgery, where an incision is made on your hand.
How Gladiator Therapeutics Helps
The patented ceramics within the device produce far infrared energy that helps break apart water clusters in plasma. When these clusters are reduced in size, it allows for improved blood flow, reducing inflammation and pain.
NOTE: Content included here is not medical advice, and only is intended as information for adults. Always consult with your health care professional before making changes to diet, exercise, medication, or before use of any product or device.