Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS is a kind of repetitive stress injury. It is a work related injury to the wrist, usually caused by excessive use of computer keyboard. It is mostly found in people who perform repetitive motion with their hands such as typists, hairdressers, mechanics etc. CTS accounts for nearly up to 50% of the work related injuries in America. It is estimated that nearly 3% of American adults are likely to suffer CTS at some point in their life. Earlier, it was believed that CTS largely affects women, however, now it has been established that it is more related to the profession rather than gender.
Carpal tunnel is a fibrous tissue that exists on the front part of the wrist, the same area where you wear your watch strap. Carpal tunnel holds several tendons, blood vessels and nerves that are needed to operate the hand. If this tissue gets damaged or inflamed, it could put pressure on the blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to pain. The damage to the Carpal tunnel usually starts slowly and it worsens over weeks and months. CTS may cause pain and tingling in the hands, mostly at night, and weakness in holding things or applying pressure through hands. Repetitive stress injuries occur due to performing similar motion repeatedly, for extended period of time. To prevent CTS, it is advisable to have proper ergonomics at workplace and one should take time out for frequent breaks in which he/she should stretch or change position. Doing regular exercises to strengthen wrist muscles under supervision of a fitness trainer will also be helpful in preventing CTS.
People who are working on computer and whose work involves doing excessive typing are at risk. People working in the manufacturing industry with small hand tools are also at risk. Usually, CTS develops in the age bracket of 30 to 60. Women are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop CTS.
Treatment and management of CTS depends on its severity in the patient. In conventional medicine, there are drug treatments and if the situation worsens, surgery is an option. However, chiropractic care is commonly sought in CTS and it tends to show significantly good results in CTS patients. The treatment may involve chiropractic adjustments, ultrasound, muscle stimulation, strengthening and stretching exercises, and heat and ice therapy.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a treatable, repetitive stress-related injury. It is always advisable that the person tries to seek chiropractic help in early the stages of detection of the disease, so that it can be healed quickly before it manifests into a more painful condition.