SUSPECT ‘CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME’ IF TINGLING HANDS AND WRIST PAIN
Updated: Feb 6, 2018
Female patient in her late twenty’s recently has been working on her computer for over twelve hours daily, and her wrist started to hurt two months ago. Within two weeks, this patient came to the clinic because the fingers started to tingle and the hand weakened to the point where she could not eve open a bottle cap.
There has been an increase of patients with musculoskeletal issues due to increase usage of computer and smart phones. But recently, there has been more young female patients complaining of wrist pain and tingling sensation in the hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was more common in housewives who do housework, women after delivery, or women in their forty’s to sixty’s who have a career that requires hands-on work; however, the affected age is gradually getting younger, and more male patients are getting affected.
Because long-term use of computer mouse leads to wrist, finger, and shoulder pain, this syndrome is also known as “Mouse Syndrome.” Most people rest their wrist on the desk when using a computer mouse, and they bend their hands upwards. If this position is kept for long time, the wrist canal tightness, and this induces pain.
Sinews and nerves that move the fingers pass through the wrist, and they are covered and protected by carpal tunnel. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition in the fingers and palm due to compression of the median nerve as the carpal tunnel on the palm of the hand tightens. The symptoms include tingling in the thumb, index, middle finger, heat sensation on the fingers, frequent dropping of items, stiffening or spasm of hand in the morning, and worsening of pain in the evening. Only the fingers tingle at the initial stage of the syndrome, but at chronic stage the movement of the hand becomes uncomfortable and may have hand paresthesia, intense pain, and muscle atrophy.
You can do a self-diagnose if there is recurring tingling of hand.
First, Tinel’s sign is to observe whether there is paresthesia or pain in the thumb, index, and palm when you compress the nerve that passes through the wrist called the median nerve.
Second, Phalen’s test is to observe if there is pain and paresthesia on the thumb, index, and palm when you forcefully bend the wrist inward and hold for one minute. Those with herniated neck disc (Cervical herniated intervertebral disc) can also show hand and arm tingling sensation, so it is recommended to receive the correct diagnosis by visiting a hospital.
Many people do not think frequent use of computer or smart phone can strain the wrist. The problem is the lack of awareness about excessive work and symptoms and wrong everyday habits that lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Fixing the wrong usage of hand, frequent stretching, and resting are important to prevent the symptoms.
Knowing and doing stretches beneficial for Carpal tunnel syndrome can ease and prevent symptoms:
Finger stretching: With hand open, curl the fingers, except for the thumb, and open repeatedly twenty times.
Extend both arms out and make a loose fist. Rotate the wrists clockwise and counter-clockwise four to five times.
Lock the fingers together while the back of the hand faces upward. Move the wrist like a wave for three to four times.
Extend both arms out, and with one hand bend the wrist of the opposite hand so that the fingers point upwards. Again, bend the wrist so that the fingers point downwards. Repeat three to four times.
Other than stretching, control the height of the computer mouse and keyboard and refrain from bending the wrist. Hot packs are great after frequent use of the wrist.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on June 21st, 2016.