People who are required to sit at a desk all day and work on their computer, often fall victim to aches in the wrist and hands, which in their severest form, can turn into an extremely painful disorder, known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The name is derived from the fact that the pain is caused by pressure being put on the median nerve situated in the carpal tunnel of your hand.
What Are The Causes of This Disorder?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by nerve entrapment; that is, when the tunnel inside the bones of your wrist narrows, the surrounding tissues as well as the median nerve are inflamed. Why is the median nerve so important? Well, the nerve is responsible for giving feeling to the thumb and the rest of the fingers, therefore, when pressure is put on the nerve due to swollen or inflamed tissues, such as tendons and ligaments in the carpal tunnel, severe pain occurs as a result.
The people who are most at risk of this syndrome are often engaged in repetitive motions throughout the day, such as people who are required to type on their computers for a number of hours consecutively. Others include:
- Assembly line workers
- Check-out line technicians
- Auto mechanics
Even hobbies such as needlework, gardening, golfing etc can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and more often than not, increase the severity of symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms of This Disorder?
It’s important to remember that the usual symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can also be mistaken for other medical conditions and vice versa. Always consult with your physician first, before and after the diagnosis. Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Numbness in the fingers or a feeling of ‘pins and needles’
- A burning or tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers
- Pain that moves up the arm to your elbow
- Difficulty in gripping objects or dropping objects
- Difficulty in making a simple fist
- A swollen feeling in the fingers
- The proper and thorough medical history of the patient
- A clinical exam, comprehensive in its nature, in which the patient will be required to perform certain tasks with the hands. This will determine whether or not carpal tunnel syndrome is a diagnosis
- Lastly, the doctor will confirm their diagnosis through EMG and nerve conduction
What Are The Treatment Options For This Disorder at Chicago pain centers?
Your doctor will prescribe the required treatment, depending on how bad your condition is. Options of treatment are:
- Daily use of non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs, i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain relievers
- Occupational therapy
- Wearing of splints to keep the wrist immobilized
Surgery is a last resort in Chicago, with Premier Pain & Spine often being able to help patients avoid the need for surgery. With eight pain clinic locations in greater Chicago area, the Board Certified doctors treat all types of painful conditions including back and neck pain.
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