Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding Natural Alternatives to Carpal Tunnel Surgery

By Tom Nicholson

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a chronic and often debilitating condition which is usually due to the stress of repetitive motion, most commonly in the course of one's work, though there are hobbies which also pose a risk for the development of carpal tunnel. Poor posture and failing to take adequate breaks are common risk factors; and if you've been ignoring those pains in your wrists and hands you are likely on the verge of developing the condition yourself.

Gritting your teeth and continuing to work even when you're in pain is looked on as an admirable trait in our society - but when your health is at stake, it's a serious mistake to think this way.

But what are the inner workings of carpal tunnel syndrome? Carpel tunnel occurs primarily in the hands and wrists when the median nerve is compressed or damaged. This is due to a tightening of the transverse carpal ligament that bundles all of the other ligaments in your wrist tightly. Your median nerve runs along with those inside the wrist. This is what gives you the strength and leverage your hands need to do their jobs.

Repetitive motion, improper posture and straining the wrists can compress the median nerve. However, there are some things you can do to prevent carpal tunnel as well as to relive the pain and numbness the condition can cause.

Following sound ergonomics can go a long way towards preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. If your workplace has someone who is either responsible for or an expert in ergonomics, ask for their advice to see what you could be doing to protect yourself from carpal tunnel. You can also take some steps on your own; take short breaks every hour or so and stretch your hands to keep your ligaments loose and prevent compression of the median nerve.

Surgery is an option if you have a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome, but keep in mind that like any other surgery, there are some risks involved. While not likely, there is the possibility of losing some of your hand's strength permanently as an unintended consequence of this procedure. Carpal tunnel surgery can also be very expensive if your insurer doesn't cover this treatment.

Of course, even if you do go the surgical route, you'll still have to do the same exercises and stretches which could help prevent the condition in the first place as well as providing some relief from the symptoms of the condition. Before you schedule a surgery, examine some of the less drastic options; you may be able to treat the problem without assuming the risk and expense of a surgical procedure.

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