The Carpal Tunnel Pain
The carpal tunnel pain felt in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a neurogenic type of pain. Neurogenic pain is a discomfort caused by the irritation of the nerve.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal in the palmar aspect of the wrist. Nine finger flexors and a nerve known as the median nerve pass through it. This tunnel is inextensible.
The carpal canal is surrounded by structures; at the top by the carpal transverse ligament and at the bottom it is bordered by the carpal bones or the wrist bones. These structures are inelastic and any changes on the pressure within the carpal canal won’t change its diameter thus compressing the median nerve.
A nerve serves as a pathway of communication between the different parts of the body and the brains. Any sensation felt by our skin is delivered through the peripheral nerve, then it will be transported to the brains to be interpreted and the sensation will be felt by the person. The reaction of the muscles depends on the information the nerves carry with it from the brains.
The nerve has a covering called the myelin sheath. This structure protects the nerve cells and they make the transport of information between the skin, muscles and the brains fast. Because of shearing forces applied on this sheath by the flexor tendons, the sheath is slowly being destroyed and sharp shooting carpal tunnel pain is felt in the wrist and hand.
The onset of carpal tunnel pain
This neuropathy will give you the discomfort of intense carpal tunnel pain in the hand, at first, it is felt in the wrist and hand especially at night. Later on, it is also felt during the day. The pain can be very debilitating.
If this causes you not to be able to do your daily activities then you must see a doctor immediately. The sensation is described to be like the sensation of pins and needles on your hand. This is how painful it can be. But how will you know if the pain is a carpal tunnel pain? You just need to do this simple step to know if the pain is caused by median nerve irritation.
The first is the Tinel’s sign. You just need to percuss or tap on the palmar aspect of the wrist, just above the median nerve. This will elicit the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Another test that you can do is the Phalen’s test. This test is done by positioning your forearm with completely bent elbow and passively flexing your wrist, just let your wrist drop. This position compresses the median nerve and thus will reproduce the carpal tunnel pain.
But you can do just one more test! This is called the reverse Phalen’s test. In this test you hold your hand with a palm to palm position, as if praying. This position extends your wrist thus stretching the structures within the carpal canal. You can do this maintained position for 60 seconds. The stretching can elicit carpal tunnel pain.
After or during these tests you will feel a sharp, shooting pain running down to your wrist and hand (radial three and a half fingers), this is the carpal tunnel pain. This is the disturbing sensation felt by people having carpal tunnel syndrome that awakens them at night and giving them the annoying feeling during the day.
By flicking your affected hand, the pain can be relieved and this is called the “flick sign”. If this happens then you must need to rest your wrist. This is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some people will use wrist splints to lessen their wrist motions, and others will opt to take pain relievers and injection of corticosteroids in the wrist area. Palliative treatments done in physical therapy include hot pack application and even cryotherapy, these help in controlling the pain and inflammation.
Work ergonomics also play important role in controlling the pain. If your work requires you to do a lot of using your computer keyboard and do a lot of different wrist motions then adjust the position of your work equipment to the comfort of your wrists, saving them from being strained.
Have frequent breaks in between work. A strained muscle will not function properly, you must try to relax your wrist and wear wrist resting splint as soon as possible.
There are different ways on how to control your carpal tunnel pain. The last and some doctors say, the best option in treating carpal tunnel syndrome is hand surgery. Yes, open hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand surgeries nowadays. This procedure is quite expensive on your part but may give you the fastest relief from carpal tunnel pain within hours after the procedure.
But before you make decision to partake in that invasive surgical procedure, take a look at alternative treatments first to help you get relief from your carpal tunnel pain. Many people have proven it to be very effective in relieving the symptoms. Who knows these remedies would just be the ones you’re looking for? You won’t need to spend $3,000 to $5,000 dollars for the hand surgery instead you can treat your carpal tunnel syndrome within the comfort of your home. But you must remember, whatever treatment regimen you may want to choose, it is always wiser to consult your doctor beforehand.