Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common condition which causes pain and weakness in the muscles of the hand. There is a small tunnel-shaped structure in our wrist joint which houses a nerve called the median nerve. This particular nerve is very important for the functions and sensations of the muscles of the palm. Any increase in the contents of the carpal tunnel or decrease in the size of the tunnel itself can compress the nerve as it passes through the tunnel from the hand into the palm. Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome The exact of CTS is unknown though certain medical and occupational conditions can increase risks. • repetitive stress (like interminable hours over a key-board!) • pregnancy, • oral contraceptive pills, • under active thyroid functions, • diabetes • acromegaly • osteoarthritis • rheumatoid arthritis, • cardiac failure, • trauma and fracture of wrist bone (lunate) • premenstrual stress. Other factors which increase the likelihood of CTS are: • CTS affecting any family member. • Occupations (assembly line workers, meat packers, food processors, and the like, not general office work), • Stress, • Obesity • Age (40) Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome • Sensation of numbness and tingling especially of the thumb, index and middle fingers. • In early stages this sensation is more like having your hands simply "falling asleep" (in fact, only pain with absence of this sensation makes this diagnosis unlikely!!). • With intense pain, relief is obtained by characteristically flicking or shaking the wrist • Weakness of the muscles of the palm • Difficulty in making a fist • Tendency to drop things easily • Grasping objects becomes very difficult • Person tends to become clumsy • Later on, there is visible wasting of the muscles of the palm. Commonly, the symptoms appear at night because many people sleep with bent wrists which further compresses the carpal tunnel. Simple flexing of the hand at the wrist to 90 degrees causes considerable reduction in the tunnel size. Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Your doctor can can diagnose this condition in the clinic (PHALEN'S TEST, TINEL'S TEST). In few cases of suspicion these investigations may be used • Electromyography • Nerve conduction studies • MRI • Ultrasonography. Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome The most effective way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome is to take frequent breaks from repetitive movement such as computer keyboard usage as well as treating the precipitating conditions (diabetes, hypothyroidism etc.) Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Lifestyle Modifications Decrease excessive consumption of: • sugars • caffeine • processed grains and corn • protein intake • foods containing yellow dyes • alcohol • estrogens • oral contraceptives, post-menopausal drugs • penicillamine • radiation exposure • tobacco Have more of these in your diet. • whole grains • seeds • nuts (peanuts, walnuts) • soybeans • fresh salmon and cod (cold-water, non-farmed) • brewer's yeast • molasses • liver • wheat bran and [wheat] germ etc. • Avocadoes, bananas, prunes, blueberries • cabbage • green leafy vegetables • raisins It is also recommended to make efforts in adopting a more ergonomic work and life environment. Conservative management • Wrist splints worn at night. • Carpal injections (hydrocortisone acetate) • Painkillers (NSAIDS) • Ultrasound therapy. • Physiotherapy. Surgical repair Decompress the nerve by dissecting the flexor retinaculum (tendon sheath of the muscles of the hand which form the roof of the carpal tunnel). Surgical corrections reportedly have 54-60% success rates eventually end up requiring additional surgeries (in 10% cases). Homeopathic treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome • Homeopathy can be considered a good alternative to the use of steroid in most cases. It is recommended to start with homeopathy before option for cortisone. • It can offers great control in pain and stiffness, providing a substitute to pain killers. Homeopathic medicines are safe and do not have side effects what the NSAIDS have. • There are no side-effects to homeopathic treatment. • Timely homeopathic treatment can prevent the use of surgery. 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