Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a very common condition which puts pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. This causes tingling, numbness, and often a pain in the hands and fingers.
The median nerve controls some of the muscles in the hand that move the thumb. It also passes signals back to the brain about sensations in the hand. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in your wrist made up of small bones and tissue, used in the process of bending the fingers and thumb.
Statistically, women are more likely to develop CTS than men and while it affects people of all ages, it’s more common in middle-aged to older age groups.
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Tingling in the hands/fingers
- Numb hands/fingers
- Weak grip
- Dull ache/pain in the hand, fingers or arm
- Hand cramps.
The symptoms of CTS can often appear gradually over the course of a few weeks, before hitting their peak levels. It’s also common for symptoms to get worse towards night time and they are often bad enough to disrupt sleep.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?
As stated earlier, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes a compression of the median nerve (which controls sensation and movement in the hands), resulting in various sensations ranging from tingling/pins and needles to a dull aching pain throughout the hand. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, it’s not known what causes the median nerve to become compressed, however, there are certain factors commonly associated with an increase in the rate of occurrence:
- Pregnancy: As many as 50% of pregnant women have been shown to develop CTS.
- Wrist injuries: Sprains, strains, fractures etc.
- Arthritis: Any form of joint inflammation in the wrist as a result of arthritis can cause additional pressure on the median nerve.
- Repetitive work or motions with the hands and wrists.
- Regular use of power tools or heavy vibrating machinery.
- An underactive thyroid gland
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
With many potential causes for CTS, there are a few different treatment options that can be offered and tailored to each individual case.
- A resting splint (often effective for people with CTS caused by a previous wrist injury and used commonly for those experiencing more severe symptoms throughout the night).
- A working splint (effective if your symptoms are brought on by specific activities).
- Steroid injections: Some doctors may offer steroid injections which can be effective in the short term, however, the effect usually wears off within a few weeks. The steroid is usually injected into the carpal tunnel with the aim of reducing swelling.
- The Magnopulse Arm Wrap: Swelling within the wrist or forearm area puts additional pressure on the median nerve and triggers CTS symptoms. Studies have shown how effective the Magnopulse arm wrap can be in regards to reducing swelling. Wearing a magnetic band in close proximity to the problem area can be used to significantly reduce and often eliminate any further CTS symptoms from occurring. The Magnopulse arm wrap is small and compact, therefore suitable to wear throughout the whole day for those who suffer constantly. It can also be worn as and when required, for those who feel an onset at different times throughout the day.