The secretary’s disease or, rather, the carpal tunnel syndrome corresponds to a neuropathy of the median nerve. As in any neuropathy, the functions of the affected nerve are altered. So what exactly does it mean to live with this problem? To understand it, we must first review what this syndrome is about.
Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome
Median nerve neuropathy is caused by excessive pressure on the median nerve. There are other syndromes with median nerve neuropathy, such as:
- Writer’s cramp syndrome
- Pronator teres syndrome
These three syndromes share the same symptoms. But, in the case of the carpal tunnel, the pressure is produced by compression of the nerve between the carpal bone and the annular carpal ligament.
Neuropathy can develop from a variety of causes. It can be triggered by inflammation and injury to the wrist. It can also be caused by making the same movement of the hand and wrist repeatedly. It even develops with the prolonged use of vibrating machines.
Functions of the median nerve
The median nerve has sensory and motor functions. Thus, it conveys the sensitivity of:
- Outer half of the palm of the hand
- First three fingers (thumb, index and middle)
- Outside of the fourth (ring) finger
On the other hand, the median nerve is the prehensile nerve par excellence. It enables pronation (inward turning) of the forearm and flexion of the wrist and fingers. In addition, it provides mobility to the thenar eminence, allowing thumb movements.
Median nerve neuropathy
As already mentioned, with median nerve neuropathy, the functions of the median nerve are lost. Thus, the sensitivity of the dependent areas will be lost. In addition, motor weakness will appear in the areas described above. With this, great difficulty will appear to carry out the manual clamp (picking up objects between the index and the thumb).
Symptoms also appear that have nothing to do with the loss of nerve functions. Thus, the person with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience pain, numbness and tingling in the area.
On the other hand, muscle damage develops. This is explained because the muscles that are not used end up atrophy. When the syndrome has a long evolution, the so-called “simian hand” appears in the patient, which corresponds to the atrophy of the thenar eminence.
Due to the atrophy of different muscles, the postures of the hand become abnormal. This damages the joints, causing long-term so-called postural arthropathies.
Living with carpal tunnel syndrome
From the moment we wake up until we fall asleep, our hands are our working instrument. Not only in the work environment but in practically any circumstance. In median nerve neuropathies, the function of the hands is affected in various ways.
The big problem with carpal tunnel syndrome is that manual clamping is extremely difficult. This is precisely the highest function of the hand, which differentiates us from primates.
In fact, it allows most of the movements of everyday life. It becomes complicated from using a pen to spreading toast to buttoning a shirt.
But fine hand movements also become really difficult. This is especially disabling in people whose trade requires precision movement of any degree. Examples of this are sewing or typing trades.
All of the above refers to the impossibility of carrying out movements that could previously be carried out without problem. But we must not forget the daily difficulties that pain, numbness and tingling sensations bring with them.
Solution to carpal tunnel syndrome
In sum, we can conclude that living with carpal tunnel syndrome is complicated. This is why many people who develop it resort to the option of surgery.
Surgical intervention to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is really simple. It consists only of decompression of the area, in order to relieve pressure on the nerve. It is done under local anesthesia, lasts about ten minutes and usually has good results.
We hope we have answered your questions about carpal tunnel syndrome. If you think you have this disease, see your doctor for a reliable diagnosis and appropriate treatment.