Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
It is the compression of the median nerve as it passes into the hand. The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist surrounded by wrist bones and by a rigid ligament which links the bones together.
Anything that irritates or squeezes the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to CTS.
The syndrome usually develops between the ages of 45 and 64 years, and the prevalence increases with age. It affects between 3 and 6% of American adults.
The symptoms of CTS include:
- weakness of the hand;
- half of the ring finger and the little finger are unaffected;
- needles and pins;
- radiated pain into the shoulder and arm;
- darting pains from the wrist;
- pain, especially at night.
Note – due to the fact that many people sleep with flexed wrists, the symptoms commonly first appear in one or both hands during the night.
Some of the things which can increase your risk of developing CTS are:
- any form of arthritis in the wrist;
- breast cancer treatments such as anastrozole and exemestane;
- regularly using vibrating tools;
- hormonal changes, for example during pregnancy;
- work which places a heavy demand on the wrist;
- a wrist fracture;
- having hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland.
Your healthcare provider can diagnose CTS based on the findings during the physical examination and your symptoms.
Symptoms can typically be treated if you:
- take pressure off your median nerve – wear a wrist splint at night;
- relieve pain and reduce swelling – take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
- put ice on your wrist for about 15 minutes;
- rest your wrist longer between activities;
- stop activities which cause pain and numbness.
It is a specific type of focal dystonia which affects the hand, fingers, or forearm.
Writer’s cramp usually affects people between the ages of 30 to 50 years. Also, it affects both women and men equally.
Common symptoms may include:
- occasional extension of a finger causing the utensil or pen to fall from the hand;
- elevation of the elbow;
- flexing of the wrist;
- excessive gripping of the utensil or pen.
Note – symptoms usually start to appear between the ages of 30 and 50.
The condition is typically caused by:
- poor penhold technique;
- poor writing posture;
- rumors of the brain, particularly in the cortex or basal ganglia;
- over-use of the hand;
- ruptured intervertebral disc;
- defective blood vessels.
Diagnosis of the condition is based on information from the neurological and physical examination and the individual.
Management methods include:
- thalamic deep brain stimulation;
- reducing the amount of writing which is done is basic to an overuse syndrome;
- stereotactic nucleus ventrooralis thalamotomy;
- the use of L-dopa and anticholinergics;
- use a wider pen or an attachment to make it wider;
- the use of botulinum toxin;
- retrain your brain with task practice, fitness activities, sensorimotor training, and learning based memory;
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation;
- use a modified pen gripe.
Spiritual Meaning of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This syndrome usually occurs at times when you feel pushed aside or uncomfortable in a certain situation. Before, you had the feeling that you were the pillar that brings balance to your life and the life of people you love.
Now, because attention is directed to someone else, you are putting pressure on yourself to find new ways to be noticed. You need to relax, but you refuse to let go of control (to “surrender”) and give up the need to control others.
Writer’s cramp clearly shows that you are very ambitious and pretentious. Who are you trying to impress?
A cramp is always a sign of excessive tension and an attempt to be something or someone you are not.
Spend more time being as authentic as possible, being yourself, and life will become relaxed and easy again. You are someone; you don’t need to be over-ambitious to prove your worth.
Prevention methods for CTS include:
- performing stretching and conditioning exercises before and after activities;
- raking frequent rest breaks from repetitive activities;
- decreasing repetitive/strong grasping with the wrist in a flexed position;
- avoiding extending and flexing the wrists repeatedly;
- keeping the wrists straight when using tools;
- sleeping with the wrists held straight.