Carpus is derived from the Greek word “karpos” which means wrist. Our wrist is supported by fibrous connected tissues. The space between these fibrous tissues and the wrist bone is the carpal tunnel and the median nerve passes through this tunnel and signals are passed from the brain to the wrist through this nerve. If swelling occurs at the fibrous tissues, it can irritate the median nerve and disrupt nerve communication which will result in numbness of the fingers, medically known as “carpal tunnel syndrome”.
The main causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is split up into 2 groups namely the biological causes and the working causes. Although there are 2 groups of causes, it is not easy to determine the exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome as there are no specific tests that can be conducted.
Biological causes such as inflammation can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Inflammation can occur either through injuries, existing medical problems or insufficient rest between intensive usage of the hand.
Preliminary studies have shown that most of the causes are due to working causes. Repetitive usage of the wrist may increase the pressure acting on the median nerve and increasing the chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Constant repeated motion such as swinging a tennis racquet or golf club as well as typing on the keyboard for long period of time may aggravate the condition.
Some medical conditions may increase the risk of contracting CTS. Some examples of them are diabetes, arthritis, osteoarthritis, obesity and pregnancy. One of the complications of diabetes is CTS. Diabetic patients are prone to neuropathy and this can affect basic sensations. Patients who rely on kidney dialysis are also prone to contracting CTS. A damaged kidney will result in the build up of beta 2-microglobulin, a type of protein. This protein will increase the risk of getting CTS.
Genetic factors may also increase the risk of CTS. If you have family members who have CTS, you are at a higher risk. CTS can run in the family.
During pregnancy, there is an increase in fluid retention and swelling. This will increase the pressure build up in the wrist bone and compress the median nerve, causing CTS.
Leading a healthy lifestyle will decrease the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Ensure that your work space is ergonomic and you do frequent stretches to relieve pressure off your hands.
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