Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common nerve entrapment disorder that causes significant impairment and disability, affecting millions of Americans each year.
There are a variety of uncomfortable symptoms associated with the disorder, but the most common clinical features involve pain, numbness, paresthesia (pins and needles) and tingling in the thumbs, first two fingers and sometimes one-half of the ringer fingers. In more severe cases, pain travels from the median nerve up the arm, creating referred pain and dysfunction throughout the forearm, shoulder, upper back and neck.
Despite decades of research, the etiology and pathophysiology of carpal tunnel syndrome are not well understood by many physicians and therapists, although its origin in most cases, aside from disease, is a result of muscle imbalance in the upper extremity. Indeed, research shows that several factors make significant contributions to the disorder including heredity (genes), environment (workplace stress), and illness (diabetes, renal failure). Although some of these things are unavoidable, there are still many easy, effective ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Modifications to the home and workplace are often a first resort. Therapeutic chairs, keyboards, computer mouse, wrist rests and wrist braces and splints are common options, although relief is often short-term. For long-term relief, it is recommended that ergonomic products in combination with performing active stretches and exercises can do a good deal to eliminate pain and to promote muscle balance with and around the carpal tunnel. This in turn relieves pressure on the median nerve and alleviates the disabling symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
The best way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome is to implement preventative measures, reduce unnecessary stress and strain to the hands and wrists and keeping physically fit and muscles balanced in order to keep carpal tunnel syndrome and the other many repetitive strain injuries at bay. By exercising the muscles in the hand, wrist, forearm and shoulder so as to promote optimal muscle balance, one can do a great deal to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from occurring.
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