Sunday, July 15, 2007

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Bounded by bones and ligaments, the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway — about as big around as your thumb — located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to your hand and nine tendons that bend your fingers. Pressure placed on the nerve produces the numbness, pain and, eventually, hand weakness that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.

Signs and symptoms

Carpal tunnel syndrome typically starts gradually with a vague aching in your wrist that can extend to your hand or forearm. Other common carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include:

  • Tingling or numbness in your fingers or hand, especially your thumb, index, middle or ring fingers, but not your little finger. This sensation often occurs while driving a vehicle or holding a phone or a newspaper or upon awakening. Many people "shake out" their hands to relieve their symptoms.
  • Pain radiating or extending from your wrist up your arm to your shoulder or down into your palm or fingers, especially after forceful or repetitive use. This usually occurs on palm side of your forearm.
  • A sense of weakness in your hands and a tendency to drop objects.
  • A constant loss of feeling in some fingers. This can occur if the condition is advanced.
The cause

The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve is a mixed nerve, meaning it has a sensory function and also provides nerve signals to move your muscles (motor function). The median nerve provides sensation to your thumb, index finger, middle finger and the middle-finger side of the ring finger.

Pressure on the nerve can stem from anything that reduces the space for it in the carpal tunnel. Causes might include anything from bone spurs to the most common cause, which is swelling or thickening of the lining and lubricating layer (synovium) of the tendons in your carpal tunnel.


There are no proven strategies to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but to protect your hands from a variety of ailments, take the following precautions:

  • Reduce your force and relax your grip. Most people use more force than needed to perform many tasks involving the hands. If your work involves a cash register, for instance, hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink. This way you won't have to grip the pen tightly or press as hard on the paper.
  • Take frequent breaks. Every 15 to 20 minutes give your hands and wrists a break by gently stretching and bending them. Alternate tasks when possible. If you use equipment that vibrates or that requires you to exert a great amount of force, taking breaks is even more important.
  • Watch your form. Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. A relaxed middle position is best. If you use a keyboard, keep it at elbow height or slightly lower.
  • Improve your posture. Incorrect posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward. When your shoulders are in this position, your neck and shoulder muscles are shortened, compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
  • Keep your hands warm. You're more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you work in a cold environment. If you can't control the temperature at work, put on fingerless gloves that keep your hands and wrists warm.
(I was asking one of my senior @ exsas forum about this.Of course he is a doctor(Dr Hj Abd Rahman) and he ask me to search for the Carpal tunnel syndrome and see whether is there any similarity with the pain that I have.It turns out to be almost exactly what I am now experiencing and that makes me a little bit scared.Now I am asking him for more details and looking forward for any medical treatment.Oh my!)

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