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Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a wrist condition that afflicts between 2 and 3 percent of all men and women at some point during their lifetimes. It is slightly more common in women and most prevalent in women over 55. The hormonal changes during pregnancy and the onset of menopause often signal the development of CTS.
The Anatomy of CTS
Located within the wrist is a ligamentous structure called the carpal tunnel. The carpal nerve runs through the carpal tunnel. When the soft tissue adjacent to the tunnel becomes inflamed or there is too much fluid in the surrounding wrist tissue, it places pressure on the carpal tunnel. This, in turn, exerts pressure on the carpal nerve that results in pain, tingling and numbness. This pain can run into the fingers and up the arm.
There is a much greater incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome in jobs where a worker is required to do repetitive movements with the hands. Grocery checkers, typists, court reporters and packers are a few of the workers who often develop carpal tunnel syndrome over time.
Other Causes of CTS
Weight gain can put pressure on the carpal tunnel nerve, causing CTS. It can also make CTS much worse. Edema or water retention can also cause CTS to develop or worsen.
A way to cure carpal tunnel syndrome is with a carpal tunnel release surgery where the carpal tunnel is surgically clipped, thereby releasing pressure on the nerve. But if treated properly – at the sign of the earliest symptoms - CTS tends to naturally repair itself.
Some CTS sufferers have undergone ultrasound therapy to the carpal tunnel and claim that this helps temporarily. Ultrasound therapy, however, is very expensive and not a viable option for people without chiropractic coverage.
Topical treatment has been found to help the pain of CTS considerably. One FDA-approved product, Super Blue Stuff, is rolled onto the wrist area and provides almost instant pain relief. This product is inexpensive, safe and has no side effects. Many CTS sufferers swear by Super Blue Stuff roll-on treatment for immediate relief of CTS pain, tingling and numbness.
By taking regular breaks from repetitive work and using Super Blue Stuff, carpal tunnel surgery can often times be avoided.