The carpal tunnel in the body is formed from the carpals or the bones and ligaments that form the wrist-scientifically the carpals or the carpus, Greek: karpos. These bones form a unique pathway in the wrist, and which is called the carpal tunnel, taking its name from the bones that constitute it. This tunnel is important to the body because, it is at this place that the median nerve, responsible for controlling movement and sensation in a large part of the hand passes through, in addition to this nerve, many of the tendons that connect the arm and hand muscles also make their way from the region of the forearm into the hand, via this passage. At times the tunnel undergoes a narrowing and is restricted in its area because of many reasons, for example because of a swelling of the ligaments or tendons, because of injuries and accidents that involve bone dislocation, due to the presence and appearance of bone spurs, or due to the retention of excess fluid in the region of the tunnel. When this restriction of the tunnel reaches starts putting pressure and compressing the median nerve, carpal tunnel syndrome is said to have been caused the physical signs include pain, numbness in the affected region, and general weakness.
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The appearance of these symptoms may be sudden or it could also be a gradual process, striking its most painful manifestations at nighttime, it is believed and seen that up to 95% of people who have developed this condition have been awakened from their sleep by the pain. Some of the symptoms may quietly disappear in a matter of days, there are others however that may require medical attention and treatment, and may endure over moths at a time, causing great problems and pain to the person.
The regular and prolonged and repeated movements of the hands may put undue stress on the fingers and hands, carpal tunnel syndrome is simply the sum total of this stress and injury caused by repeated physical work. Therefore in situations that involve a lot of physical activity from the fingers and the hand, for example in people who type a lot or assembly line workers, this syndrome is more likely to make an appearance, carpal tunnel syndrome can also come about in people who do a lot of work even in a leisurely manner using their fingers, such as those who play music and others involved in activities like knitting. Over a period of time, over use of the fingers in repeated and complicated activity, can lead to the inflammation of the tendons or the ligaments; this restricts and compresses the median nerve, thus bringing on the syndrome.
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Other factors can also aggravate the situation if carpal tunnel syndrome is already present, for example things like a fluctuation or change in hormonal balance in the bodies of pregnant women, the use birth control and other contraceptive pills, and in women who are in menopause . All these situations can worsen the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Other situations that can bring on carpal tunnel syndrome include many underlying illnesses such as unidentified diabetes, problems associated with hypothyroidism, Raynaud's disease, and even rheumatoid arthritis, physical accident and trauma to the wrist may also result in carpal tunnel syndrome. As a health risk, it is known that the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome, is three times more in women vis-à-vis men and in particular, the likely group that it strikes are women who are primarily overweight, and in the ages between 30 to 60, and who have undergone a period of pregnancy sometime in their life.
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Susceptibility to the numbness and the pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome is possibly increased because of the deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in the body, so some studies seem to suggest. Some of the processes and positive benefits that this particular vitamin has inside the body include improving circulation and blood flow, the maintenance of a healthy nervous and nerve tissue and an the promotion of a defense against inflammation. This vitamin B6 has also been linked and possibly it is involved in the promotion of a pain relieving substances, it helps control sensations of pain in the body, the nerve chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). People who take vitamin B6 as a supplement are often unsatisfied even after three weeks on the supplement, if there is no noticeable difference in the condition, it is advisable to shift to another form of pyridoxine, or B6 called pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P), this is the active form of the vitamin inside the body, and it is the eventual destiny of the pyridoxine taken in any form, as it is the product of the break down of vitamin B6. This particular form of the vitamin possibly works better with some people, and many believe that this form helps them more in relieving the symptoms of vitamin B6.
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Other substances such as bromelain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme abundant in pineapple are also good supplements, this enzyme is very effective in dealing and alleviating the pain that is felt and in treating and lessening the inflammation. Instead of using one of the two supplements pyridoxine and bromelain seem to be more effective together and should preferably be used together. A herd often used in south Asia and in Indian cooking called turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family of plants, has also proven to be effective as a supplement. Turmeric and bromelain support each other very well and seem to boost each others anti-inflammatory functions and analgesic properties, this two taken together are very effective in dealing with the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Once the symptoms start to fade away, the dosage of turmeric can be halved, even though it is very safe even over the long term, turmeric in tablet form can be quite costly.
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Many of the homeopathic remedies which have been suggested below are effective in relieving the discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Avoid repetitive tasks especially those that involve the use of the hands and the fingers, if you are already suffering from the syndrome, these activities include pastimes knitting, work related activities such as typing or even actions such as playing a musical instrument, if these cannot be avoided at all, then it is advisable to take short and frequent breaks during the activity to give the hands and the fingers some time to recuperate. It is recommended that when undergoing repetitive task that may go on for hours, to rest for a short time in order to flex the fingers and hands at least once an hour, not only does this action give the fingers and the hands time to recuperate but it also improves blood flow and relaxes the nerves. The first action that must be followed when there is acute pain is the immediate application of ice or some cold compress to the affected area. Pain and inflammation that sets in on the affected area may be alleviated by cold compresses, for this purpose, you can use a flexible ice pack, or even some substitute such as a bag of frozen peas - this can be applied topically for 10 minutes once every hour or so for relief. Another simple solution is to raise your arms, or elevate their position relative to your body when lying down; this can be done by using pillows.
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