Carpal tunnel syndrome affects most individuals performing repetitive movements for long periods of time. The carpal tunnel is a small passageway approximately the size of the thumb located on the palm side of the wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to the hand and nine tendons that bend the fingers.
Occupation is most commonly the cause of Carpal tunnel syndrome. Occupations that involve repetitive hand activities such as; food processing, manufacturing, logging (cutting down trees), construction work, musicians, and carpenters in addition, long-term typing or computer use may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
These often include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, indomethacin or celecoxib to alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome by reducing the swelling within the carpal tunnel. Unfortunately these can lead to many side effects such as high blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea and extreme digestive upset. Another issue is that since they just mask the pain, people are more likely to overuse their affected hands or wrists (since they are no longer receiving the "pain" signal from the body).
Another common conventional treatment includes the local injection of cortisone, a steroid medication. This can sometimes provide temporary relief, but again is not aimed at providing a long term solution; a major side effect of cortisone injections is local connective tissue degeneration (leads to thinning of the tissue).
These are aimed at treating and removing the cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome and can include rehab exercises and biomechanical or ergonomic assessments (work or home related). Nutritional assessments should also be performed since decreased vitamin B6 levels have been detected in some patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Vitamin B supplementation with vitamin B6 and vitamin B2 has therefore been recommended for this condition. Other methods of treatment may include trigger point acupuncture, medical acupuncture, hydrotherapy, laser treatments, manipulation, and stretching.
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