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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What it is

Some of the 11.5 million Americans with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can’t turn this page without sharp pain, tingling, burning, numbness, or weakness in their hands and wrists. Many can’t sleep due to such symptoms, says Daniel Osie, Md, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine.

Why it happens-Many things-including injury, pregnancy, and (possibly) repeatedly flexing and bending your wrist-can narrow the bony passageway called the carpal tunnel, which is in your wrist. Symptoms occur when the median nerve, which travels through the tunnel, gets squeezed, often by swollen tissue. The pain can reach as far as your shoulders, untreated CTS may result in nerve damage.

How to solve: CTS

Larser Therapy– it is finally approved by FDA. Laser therapy has been widely used in European and Asian countries such as England, German, Australia, and Hong Kong. It's reapid clinical improvement has been observed in physical therapy daily practice. Laser therapy stimulates and hastens soft tissure healing such as ligament, tendon, and muscle. It boosts up the cellular energy level and accelerate regional metabolism.

Wet cupping– An ancient Chinese techniques, wet cupping involves pricking the skin around relevant acupuncture points and placing glass cups t apply suction to that area for 5 to 10 minutes. A 2009 German study of 52 people found that a single session eased carpal tunnel pain and symptoms for 1 week. Scientists don’t know why the technique works for CTS pain-it may provide a counterirritant but wet cupping is generally considered safe if performed by a qualified acupuncturist.

Acupuncture-People with mild to moderate CTS who were treated with this traditional Asian therapy eight times over the course of a month were more likely to get pain relief than those who took medications, a 2011 Chinese study found. “Acupuncture may reduce inflammation, relieving the nerve’s compression,” says Holly Zhao, MD, associate professor at the University of California, Davis. Although other research suggests that placebo acupuncture is as effective as the real deal, that doesn’t dampen Dr. Zhao’s enthusiasm for the therapy. She’s seen lots of people with CTS respond to acupuncture.

Yoga-Iyeangar yoga improved grip strength and allowed CTS patients to skip using wrist splints for pain, a small University of Pennsylvania Medical School study found. Participants practiced a 60- to 90-minute program twice weekly for 8 weeks. Iyengar emphasizes proper body alignment, which the study found may pressure on your nerves.

Ice-If you think your CTS is caused by repetitive action, apply ice to your wrists twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. The cold reduces swelling and the resulting pain. For best results, try an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel.

Rest– If you do anything that flexes and bends your wrists or fingers repeatedly, such as knitting, this may contribute to or worsen your CTS, so try to take a 5-minute break every hour. If you work on a computer all day, don’t spend your free time playing computer games.

Carpal Tunnel Stretch– Dr. Amini and other experts recommend this simple exercise to improve CTS symptoms: Touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your little finger. Then bend your three middle fingers over this bridge, toward your palm. Using your other hand, pull on those middle fingers, trying to straighten them. As you resist the tug, your wrist tendons will push the carpal tunnel out, stretching it a little to help make room for the nerve. Do this five times, holding each stretch for a cont of five. Repeat the exercise three times daily.

Egronomics– “You don’t want to bend or flex your wrists too much in a short period of time,” says Dr. Amini. An physical therapist or occupational therapist can show you how to position your wrist correctly when you perform actions that might otherwise irritate the median nerve.

Self-Massage- Apply lotion to your fingers and gently massage your hand, moving from the tips of your fingers across your palm and past your wrist to your forearm, advises Dr. Amin. Repeat this at least twice a day for 5 to 10 minutes.