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I recently attended a lecture on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) presented by Dr. Boyd Haynes of the Orthopaedic and Spine Center and thought it so interesting that I decided to blog about it. Please remember that I am not a doctor and if you think that this information pertains to you or someone you know, the best thing to do is to get in to be evaluated by a fellowship-trained orthopedic specialist.
Don’t self-diagnose or you could potentially wind up much worse, or with a condition completely unrelated to this topic. In fact, tendonitis or bursitis can easily be misdiagnosed as CTS, so it pays to go to a specialist who is experienced in diagnosing and treating this condition.
Some of the more common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Usually is seen in adults
- May appear in only one or both hands (dominant hand usually first)
- Numbness, pain, burning or tingling in your thumb, index and middle fingers and palm
- Discomfort awakens you at night
- Shaking your hand provides relief
- Loss of grip strength (advanced)
- Atrophy of palm muscle near the thumb (advanced)
Why do some people seem to be more susceptible to this problem and why do others have no issues? Many physicians seem to think that a combination of factors most often causes problems, such as genetic predisposition, stress, overuse, rheumatic arthritis, previous injury to the wrist and a variety of other issues. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is seen three times more in women than men. Pregnancy can cause problems and those problems can go away as soon as the baby is delivered. Diabetes may also confuse this condition.
It is a widely held belief that repetitive motion can cause CTS; however, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that supports this for the general office worker performing computer work. However, other jobs, such as working on an assembly line, do seem to be associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
CTS is seen three times more in women than men. Certain jobs seem to be associated with CTS more often than others, including assembly-line jobs. It has not been found that computer work causes an increased incidence of CTS.
Next time…How is CTS diagnosed? Stay tuned….