Without a doubt, as technology improves, we use it more and more. Generally, technology has been a benefit to society in many ways. But over-using a smartphone, tablet, or another device can take a physical toll on your health.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a health issue often linked to technology use. It occurs in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. It causes a tingling feeling or numbness.
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What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The squeezing of the median nerve in your wrist causes CTS. The median nerve and tendons are responsible for bending some of your fingers. They are inside the space between the wrist bones called the carpal tunnel.
When the tissue around this tunnel swells or thickens, it squeezes the nerves and tendons. They become irritated, resulting in pain and tingling.
Technology isn’t the only way people get CTS, but the repetitive motion of scrolling on your phone is a common trigger. Any time you do a specific movement with your hands multiple times a day, every day, it may lead to CTS.
Other factors that might play into someone getting CTS might include:
- Your body is holding on to a lot of fluid.
- You’ve had trauma near the hands.
- You have an underactive thyroid.
- You have an overactive pituitary gland.
- You were born with a narrow carpal tunnel.
The risk of getting CTS increases with age. It’s higher for those with a family history of it.
Some health issues increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The first line of treatment for CTS includes:
- Lifestyle changes.
- Hand exercises.
- Wearing a wrist brace.
- Steroid injections.
A health care worker may suggest a procedure or surgery if these methods don’t work.
Surgery aims to release the pressure on the nerves by cutting the ligament to make more space in the carpal tunnel. Traditionally, a doctor would do this with open surgery, which needed a large incision to open the wrist.
But new minimally invasive options can release this pressure without a large cut on the wrist. If your doctor thinks you need surgery, they’ll suggest the best choice for your case.
Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release surgery
This new minimally-invasive method takes just minutes. Your doctor can do it under local anesthesia at their office.
The doctor makes a small incision in the wrist. They use an ultrasound device to guide a special needle and thread into the carpal tunnel. They loop the thread around the ligament to cut it and release the pressure on the nerve.
The minimal incisions reduce or eliminate the need for strong pain medicine and physical therapy. In most cases, you can go back to life and work 3 to 6 days after surgery once your doctor checks you out.
Endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery
Another minimally invasive option to release pressure in the carpal tunnel is an endoscope. An endoscope is a thin tube with a camera and tools. The doctor will insert it through a small incision on your wrist.
The tube and camera allow your doctor to see inside your wrist. This lets them release the carpal tunnel without making a large cut.
Talk to your primary care doctor today to see which procedure is right for you.
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