How to Diagnose and treat Carpal tunnel syndrome without seeing your doctor
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects about 1 in 100 people at some point in their life. Men and women of any age can develop it, but it is most common in women between the ages of 30 and 50.
In some cases carpal tunnel syndrome is triggered by a personsí occupation, and can lead to the person being unable to work. Most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can be prevented by stopping or reducing the activity that stresses the fingers, hand, or wrist, or by changing the way in which activities are done.
Youíre probably thinking, what is a Carpal tunnel? The carpal tunnel is a channel in the palm side of the wrist. The bones of the wrist are arranged in a semi-circle, and the carpal ligament forms a roof over them, creating a passageway called the carpal tunnel. Running through the carpal tunnel are the tendons that we use to bend the fingers and wrist, and the median nerve.
Before I get into how to diagnose Carpal tunnel syndrome, itís worth looking at the reason why it occurs. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of repeated wrist movements putting pressure on the nerves running through the carpal tunnel. Some common causes include knitting, typing, using a jack hammer, using small tools and sports that involve wrist movements (like tennis and squash).
Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect one or both hands. This often depends on the activity that has caused the symptoms. For example, someone who develops Carpal tunnel syndrome from typing is likely to get the symptoms in both hands while someone who gets it from scrubbing will probably get it in one hand only.
To accurately diagnose Carpal tunnel syndrome you must be able to identify the common symptoms. Common symptoms may include numbness in the wrist and hands, tingling in the fingers and palm of the hand, loss of grip strength and a burning sensation in the hand/wrist area. In severe cases these same symptoms may be felt as high as the elbow and upper arm.
The first warning signs of Carpal tunnel syndrome wrist and hand soreness. This may include some slight numbness in the fingers. You may feel this pain while you are doing a particular task or in many cases in the morning and at night. Because most people sleep with their wrists bent, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are often felt first thing in the morning.
At first, carpal tunnel symptoms only occur a few times throughout the day. These symptoms can easily be relieved by flexing the wrists and shaking the hands. Itís when the symptoms become more regular that you may need to think about some Carpal tunnel exercises.
Carpal tunnel exercises are a special set of movements designed to relieve the tension in the Carpal tunnel. You donít need any special tools. These exercises can be done standing at your workstation. You can view the complete set of these exercises on our website (see link at bottom of this page).
Carpal tunnel exercises should be done regularly throughout the day. You should do the exercises whether you are feeling symptoms or not. If you only do the exercises when you feel the pain, you are applying a ďband-aidĒ solution and not really fixing the problem. At the very minimum you should do the carpal tunnel exercises before your shift, after each break, and at the end of your shift.
In most cases doing the exercises mentioned above will not only relieve the symptoms, but stop Carpal tunnel syndrome affecting you at all. However, in some cases where Carpal tunnel syndrome is more advanced further treatment is necessary.
The next step would be to stop or reduce doing whatever is causing the Carpal tunnel symptoms. This may be your job, hobby or sport. If you can, itís a good idea to get hold of a good wrist support brace. This brace will take some of the pressure off your wrists. Braces are not expensive and can be picked up at most pharmacies.
Some medicines that may help ease the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome include anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs. When using an ice pack, make sure that the ice is never in direct contact with the skin. Always wrap the ice pack in a towel before applying it to the effected area. Anti-inflammatory medication should only be used to relieve the pain. It is not a treatment for Carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have tried all the methods mentioned above and you are still having trouble with Carpal tunnel syndrome, itís time to go and see a doctor. When Carpal tunnel syndrome has got to this stage it will not go away with exercises and ice packs. The doctor will evaluate your condition and recommend a treatment.
Further treatments may include prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and in extreme cases surgery. The majority of Carpal tunnel syndrome cases can be cured without surgery. With the help of new technology, the surgical procedure is simple and does not require you to stay overnight in hospital.
About the Author: For more information on Carpal tunnel syndrome and Carpal tunnel exercises visit Carpal tunnel exercises. We also have information on Carpal tunnel symptoms and treatment. You can beat Carpal tunnel syndrome without seeing a doctor.