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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by Amanda Whitehead

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The Carpal Tunnel is a passageway that surrounds the median nerve and tendons in our forearm, it

consists of ligaments and bones at the bottom of our hands. The median nerve starts from the forearm

and runs to the palms of our hands, it controls the feelings to the anatomical side of the

fingers and impulses to the muscles in our hands that allow movement to occur.  The median nerve can

sometimes be compressed due to thickened irritated tendons which causes the tunnel to narrow in

size. When this happens it may cause pain or numbing in the hand and wrist, and at times can travel up

the arm.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a disease that occurs at the wrist in which trauma or injury such as a sprain,

fracture, or overactivity of the wrist joint are contributing factors that cause swelling.  In some cases, no

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cause can be determined, while others can be associated with pregnancy and other health-related

diseases such as diabetes, a cyst or tumor in the canal, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid diseases.  Women

are more susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome simply because their carpal tunnel is

smaller than that of men. The hand most used is usually affected first and also has the most pain in a lot

of cases and usually only occurs in adults. Individuals who possess disorders such as diabetes are higher

at risk because those disorders affect the body’s nerves.

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome have been reported as tingling, burning, and or numbness in

the palms of the hands and fingers, this may make the fingers feel useless and swollen even if there are

no visible signs of swelling.  Performing tasks may prove to be difficult such as grasping objects, forming

a fist, or discerning between temperatures such as hot and cold.

The best way to try to avoid permanent damage would be to seek a physician’s advice as promptly as

possible if you feel you may be experiencing any of these symptoms. It is best to gain an early diagnosis

and immediate appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. The treatment for Carpal tunnel would

determine its severity, mild cases would only need a non-surgical treatment such as resting, drugs,

exercise, or therapy. Only the most severe would require surgery which would be done under local

anesthesia and would only need to be done on an outpatient basis. There are two types of surgery and

reoccurrence of Carpal Tunnel is rare. Traditionally a procedure called Open Release Surgery consists of

a 2-inch incision in the wrist and then opening up the carpal tunnel to enlarge it. The other type of

surgery allows for a much faster recovery with less discomfort which is called The Endoscopic surgery,

this can be a single portal or a two-portal surgery. The two-portal type of surgery involves making two

incisions into the wrist and the palm, inserting a camera, observing the tissue, and cutting the carpal

ligament. A full recovery from these surgeries can take months but some symptoms could be relieved

immediately following the surgery. Physical therapy is necessary after surgery to restore strength in the






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