One of the most problematic parts of the human body is the carpal tunnel of the wrist. The carpal tunnel can be best described as a canal or corridor that runs through the anterior or flexor aspect of the wrist. It is found between the bones of the wrist and the anterior annular carpal ligament. And through it the median nerve and flexor tendons of the fingers pass.
Any physiological process, such as inflammation of the flexor tendons or the accumulation of fluid, that causes a reduction of the carpal tunnel space, may cause nerve entrapment and compression. The result is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a condition which causes numbness and weakness of the hand and wrist, and a sharp radiating pain that often travels up the length of the arm.
While mild cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may react favorably to specific therapeutic treatments, more advanced cases will almost always require surgical intervention to release the nerve and reduce pressure within the tunnel.
Although pain of the wrist may indicate several other conditions, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is arguably the most common compression neuropathy in the world. Nevertheless, there is a significant portion of the general populace who is unfamiliar with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Neuropax Clinic in St Louis, leaders in Peripheral Nerve Surgery and experts in nerve compression and chronic pain, presents a list of the top 5 things you likely didn’t know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
01 - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can Be Idiopathic: An idiopathic condition occurs with no apparent cause and may present spontaneously. According to popular wisdom, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs as the result of repetitive hand motions. While that may be a potential cause, this painful condition can sometimes manifest without any apparent reason.
In these cases, the appearance of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be explained by a congenital defect. In other words, some people are simply born with abnormally narrow carpal tunnels, and this results in a higher predisposition to developing the condition.
02 - Certain Professions Are More At Risk: As mentioned above, it is common knowledge that repetitive tasks, which rely on hand and wrist motions, increase the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over time. It is only natural then to expect specific jobs and professions to be significantly more at risk.
The Center for Disease Control has identified these occupations and published a list of what they consider to be the most susceptible.
- Telephone Operators
- Factory Assemblers
- Hair Stylists
03 - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Affects People Of All Ages: Although the vast majority of cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome appear between the ages of 40 and 70, it can occur at any point in life. At-risk patients develop the condition as early as 30 years of age. Moreover, it is believed that younger patients often lack some diagnostic signs, which makes a misdiagnosis and late treatment much more likely.
04 - Early Detection Is Essential To Prevent Permanent Nerve Damage: Untreated Carpal Tunnel System will invariably lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage. Thus, it is imperative to highlight the importance of obtaining an early diagnosis that indicates with certainty the type of pathology that is present.
An electromyographical study of the sensitivity and strength of the hand’s muscle response is used to confirm or deny the presence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. With this study, doctors can accurately assess the degree to which the median nerve has been compromised and, as a result, offer the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
05 - Women are Far More Likely to Develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Women are up to three times more likely to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than men. This aspect of the condition can likely be explained by the fact that a woman’s carpal tunnel is physically smaller than a man’s.