Sep 28, 2011

Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is idiopathic median neuropathy at the carpal tunnel. It is a common disorder for office workers who spend a long period of time in front of a computer.

The compression of median nerve causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There is a tunnel-shaped space surrounded by bones and ligaments inside the wrist where the median nerve passes through. Excessive use of wrists causes tendons to get swollen, and then compress the median nerve. The main symptom of CTS is intermittent numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial half of the ring finger, and the numbness often occurs at night since people tend to sleep with flexed wrists.

Many office workers and housewives suffer from CTS
CTS is a common among office workers and housewives since they tend to over-use their wrists. If they mis-judge the symptom of numbness due to poor circulation and take medicine to improve their circulation, it may cause various complications including gastrointestinal bleeding, thus, it is critical to get diagnosis from professionals if you experience any numbness or tingling sensation on your hands.

How to Self-Diagnose CTS
1. Place the back of your hands against each other, and bend the wrists 90 degrees.
2. Maintain the position for 1 minute to check if you feel any numbness.
(The tunnel space decreases and the median nerve is compressed when your wrists are flexed, thus, numbness may get worse if you have CTS.)

Good Wrist Exercise for CTS
It is recommended to massage with a warm pack in order to relax wrist muscles to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

[Wrist Rotation]
1. Relax your shoulders and wrists.
2. Interlock fingers both hands to 1 knuckle length.
3. Place a small ball between the palms or pretend there is a ball.
4. Rotate your wrists clockwise and counter-clockwise for 3 minutes each.

[Flex your wrists]
1. Put your arms forward without bending your elbows while your palms are facing up.
2. Take a deep breathe and hold it in for a few seconds and bend down fingers except thumb with other hand.
3. Maintain this position for 5 seconds and breathe out slowly.
4. Repeat 5 times for both hands.

Written by Chae-Young Cho

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