Flex your fingers, get rid of numbing pain

Take care

You’re working at your desk, trying hard to ign­ore the tingling and the numbness you’ve been experiencing for months in your hand and wrist.

Suddenly, a sharp, piercing pain shoots through the wrist and up your arm. Just a passing cramp? More likely you are a victim of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a painful progressive condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist.Today, more than ever one hears about CTS more frequently. The moment a hand falls asleep and one gets the pins and needles in their fingers, somebody is bound to suggest that it is CTS.

So what exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Experts point out that it is a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, a narrow confined space. Repeated extremes of wrist extension can put excessive pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist, and this impairs nerve function and eventually results in injury. Using computer keyboards and mouse in excess makes the situation ideal for CTS. 

Dr Satnam Singh Chhabra, neuro surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, says, “The first symptom of CTS may appear when sleeping, and typically includes numbness and paresthesias – a burning and tingling sensation in the thumb, index and middle finger. Although, some patients may experience symptoms in the palm as well, these symptoms appear at night because people tend to bend their wrist when they sleep, which further compresses the carpel tunnel.”

Dr Chhabra says that most cases of CTS are idiopathic, “CTS is sometimes associated with trauma, pregnancy, diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthirits and multiple myeloma. To lessen the pain, one can wear an electrically powered massaging device on the wrist and arm.”

Dr Aditi Bhatia, physiotherapist at the ANH Multispeciality Hospital, Krishna Nagar said, “Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand, gets pressed or squeezed in the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations of the thumb and fingers, as well as impulses some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. So, we suggest muscle strengthening and stretching exercises for the nerves. 

We also suggest to people to use mouse pads which has a cushion.”

If a person ignores the numbness and the pain in their hands, this can further aggravate and can result in surgery. 

Dr Maninder Shah Singh, orthopaedic surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, said, “If a person ignores the sym­p­toms, permanent weakness can happen to their hands. It is not a major surgery, we make an incision in the front of the palm and decompress the median nerve. ”

To avoid the condition experts advise adopting healthy habits. These range from avoiding repetitive stress, work modification through ergonomic equipment, like using mouse pad, wrist rest; taking proper breaks between work and flexing fingers and massaging writs frequently to ease pain. One easy way to do this is to clench your fist tight before gently releasing and fanning out the fingers. This can help relieve the pain as well as exercise the fingers. Reme­­­-m­ber, your health is in your hands!

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