Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve which runs through the wrist to the hand becomes compressed. The problem involves the narrow bony passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel, through which nine tendons and the median nerve must pass between the arm and hand.
In the wrist, the median nerve (the major "communication line" between the brain and the hand) is routed through a small passage bounded by the wrist bones (the carpals) and the tough ligament tissue connecting them (see diagram). Nine hard tendons also pass through this crowded "carpal tunnel". Because this structure is rigid, any influence that causes tissue swelling within the tunnel or reduces its size tends to compress and pinch the median nerveWHAT CAUSES CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
Compression of the main nerve in the hand probably accounts for 50 to 75 percent of all cases of repetitive stress disorder. Any of nine tendons to the hand can be injured, making them swell and fill with fluid, reports Dr. Goldstein. This places pressure on the median nerve, creating numb fingers and weakened hand muscles that can radiate pain up the arm. In older people, it may be related to diabetes, arthritis or an underactive thyroid gland, which various forms of stress can aggravate.
PREVENTING REPETITIVE MOTION PROBLEMS
Your wrist aches, your fingers feel numb, you have difficulty doing even the most simple tasks like opening a juice jar. What's going on? It may be that you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome--a hand disorder resulting from repetitious, forceful motion of the hands and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is common and affects those of us who use the same hand motions over and over again at work or at home--painters, textile workers, word processors, cashiers, electronics assemblers, and many others. Fortunately, you don't need to "grin and bear it." Carpal tunnel syndrome is often preventable through proper hand positioning and hand exercises.
WHY YOUR HAND HURTS
The carpal tunnel is the bony cavity in your wrist through which your nerves and tendons extend to the hand. When you repeat the same hand and wrist movements day in and day out, the excess strain causes tendons to swell and press on the main nerve of the hand. This persistent irritation of the nerve can result in pain, numbness, and dysfunction not only in the hands and wrists, but may extend up to the forearm and elbow as well.RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI is a term that most people have heard of. RSI is really a blanket name that is used to describe many different types of soft tissue injuries including: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Tennis Elbow. It is usually caused by a mixture of causes:
- Environmentally unsafe working conditions.
- Bad ergonomics in working stations.
- Poor posture.
- Repetitive motion.
Should you be worried about RSI?
- Do you use a computer more than a few hours a day ?
- Are you a computer software programmer?
- Are you a web page designer?
- Do you work on a cash register?
- Do you play a lot with computer games?
- Do you work on a factory production line?
- Do you play a musical instrument?
If the answer is yes then you are certainly at risk of being in an environmentally unsafe place and suffer from repetitive strain injury. It may not be a life threatening injury, but RSI has the potential to cause crippling disability and pain. Early, proper medical treatment is the key to success, because recovery can be a very slow process.