Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Myths and Facts
What is Carpal Tunnel?
The Carpal Tunnel is a small passage at the lower end of the palm, located at the base of the palmer side which connects the forearm to the deep plane of the palm. It consists of nine tendons and a median nerve which affect the overall functioning of the nerve. The nine tendons and the nerve found in the carpal tunnel are covered on three sides with bone and a ligament. The carpal tunnel is important because it envelops the median nerve which is responsible for sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and partially to the ring finger.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
When the median nerve in the carpal tunnel gets pressurized, it causes tingling pain in the fingers or loss of sensation temporarily, this compression neuropathy (disease related to the nervous system) is known as the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The exact cause of this disease is not known but the most commonly accepted ones are inflammation and swelling in and around the tendons, fluid retention, tumour, diabetes, trauma to the wrist, over use or dislocation.
Myths & Facts
Though CTS is a widespread disease, there are still various myths clouding its facts.
- Myth #1 It only happens when you work long hours on a keyboard instrument (computers, pianos, etc).
Fact –There are a number of patients suffering from CTS who have never indulged in any kind of keyboard activity and hence it cannot be the only cause of CTS. CTS is caused by any kind of physical activity that involves pressure application on flexed wrists like cycling, motorcycle riding, tennis and more. Sometimes it also develops with age.
- Myth #2 Pain in the palmer region indicates you have CTS.
Fact– Any pain in the palm region is not indicative of the CTS. In facr, CTS has a fixed set of symptoms like numbness, weakness, loss of grip, tingling pain and more. The pain in your palmer region might stem from other arthritic issues too.
- Myth #3 You can feel CTS effects only when you use the wrist.
Fact – There have been cases with people waking up in the middle of the night because of the numbness of their hands or loss of sensation. They find temporary relief in flexing the wrist in a particular position that relieves pressure on the median nerve and causes the restoration of its functions.
- Myth #4 It can be cured by surgery alone
Fact – There are alternative cures to CTS like a wrist brace, used to flex the wrist in an upward or downward position for relieving pressure.
- Myth #5 Recovery from the surgery is a lengthy affair
Fact – If you’ve had a surgery, recovery might take a maximum of 6 weeks depending on other complexities you face like diabetes, etc. Light exercises are recommended once the sutures are off in the first two weeks, gradually progressing to strenuous exercises.
If there is persisting pain in your palm region, then maybe it is time to see your physician!