Recognizing Muscle Atrophy – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hand muscles bulge underneath the skin of your hand. The most obvious one is on the palm side of the thumb at the thumb base. These are the thenar muscles. Some or all of them may be supplied by the median nerve, the nerve affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.

The median nerve contains both sensory and motor nerve fibers – they supply finger sensation and muscle function to the thumb. As more pressure is put on the nerve and carpal tunnel syndrome goes on for a long time, the sensory nerve fibers are compressed and damaged first, followed by the motor nerve fibers. That's why muscle atrophy is a bad sign – the sensory fibers have already been damaged for a long time when you see muscle wasting.

You can tell if someone has muscle atrophy at the base of the thumb if the normally smooth, bulging contour of the muscle is bent or has a large “hollowed out” place in the palm, where the thumb joins up with the wrist.

This permanent weakness and loss of function is what hand surgeons are trying to prevent when they recommend and perform carpal tunnel surgery or other treatments.

Once the muscles have atrophied, even surgery may not help the nerve recover. Despite this fact, carpal tunnel surgery relieves pain (especially night-time pain) for many people with chronic carpal tunnel syndrome who have muscle atrophy. A steroid injection may also help with pain from median nerve compression, though it's illegally the shot will make the nerve recover completely.

The damaged muscles have a very specific function – opposition . This means lifting the thumb out and away from the palm of the hand. This motion is essential to let you get your hand around large objects, like a 2 liter bottle or to hold onto a large stack of books.

Tendon transfer surgery is the only way of restoring this function after the muscles have been damaged. Many types of tendon transfers have been described to treat this type of muscle atrophy. They involve moving an expendable tendon from one part of the hand and attaching that tendon to the thumb to replace the missing function. Surgeons use a term called opponensplasty to describe this operation. It makes sense, right? It restores that function I mentioned earlier – opposition .

Do not let your carpal tunnel syndrome get this bad – get treatment from a competent health care provider that you trust. Numbness and tingling are the first signs of carpal tunnel syndrome – do not ignore them!

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Get A Stronger Grip

In my work as a personal trainer, I am constantly trying to help people strengthen their weakest link. For bodybuilders this is always a lagging bodypart. For people who are primary interested ingetting stronger – in simply lifting more weight in more lifts – I can almost always help them increase their overall strength by helping them get a stronger grip.

For strength trainees, the grip is often the equivalent of the weakest bodypart for the physique competitors. Here's why: it often gets neglected. How many times have you seen a man with a giant upper body and skinny little legs? Well, he has been neglecting to work on his legs. Therefore, his legs hinder his goal of overall physique development. He can never look any better than his legs do in a competition.

With someone trying to develop brute strength, the hands are often the neglected part of the equation. I have one client who wants to be able to dealift 500 pounds. What is ironic is that his back and legs are already strong enough to lift that much weight – he just can not hold onto it. The barbell falls out of his hands because his grip is not strong enough.

It does not need to act as a hindrance simply to those wanting to increase their max strength. If you want to be able to lift more total volume during a session, then hand fatigue in a move like a dumbbell row can also be your limiting factor.

Strong hands are useful. That's the core of this article. Whether you're an athlete, a laborer, or you just want to be as healthy as possible, there is no downside to developing hand strength. Here are a couple of exercises to get you started:

The plate curl

This is just a normal bicep curl, but holding a weight plate instead of a dumbbell or barbell. Pinch a 10-25 lb plate between the thumb and the four fingertips. Now curl the weight approximately to chin level without letting the wrist bend.


I'm not talking about the little plastic grippers you can buy at Wal Mart. I'm talking about heavy duty torsion grippers like the Captains of Crush grippers from Ironmind, or David Horne's Vulcan grip tools.

Heavy grippers look like others that you have seen, but they have hundreds of pounds of resistance, not dozens. Here, they can not be worked for high reps or frequent sessions.


It is simple – just use your hands more and focus on strength. Can you do more weight in a hand exercise than you could last week. Then you are stronger. Can you do more reps than you used to be able to? Then you are stronger.

Repeat until strong, then keep going. You will not be sorry.

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Rubber Bands for Finger Therapy

If you are looking for a cheap, convenient way to exercise all aspects of finger motion, then look no further than your desk top drawer. Rubber bands, those cheap, ubiquitous strips of latex that you rarely seem to need, turn out to be a very effective tool for finger and hand therapy. There are a few reasons why they make such good therapy devices.

Firstly, they are cheap. Very rarely in life does cheap equal to high quality, but in this instance, cheap is great. If you have zero dollars to spend on one of the more intimate exercise gadgets, great finger rehab is still available. With a little imagination, rubber bands can mimic almost all of the functions of higher priced gadgets. Granted, they will not be able to reproduce the more complex movements but they can cover most.

Second, rubber bands can work a vastly overlooked area of ​​finger rehab, and that is extension exercises. The majority of items on the market tend to stress flexion movements which are closing or gripping movements. This is an essential part of therapy, but it can lead to overtraining of the muscle flexors which can be bad. Think of the bodybuilder who only focuses on bench pressing movements while ignoring movements for the upper back. You can usually spot these guys because they are the ones who have rounded shoulders and walk around with a bit of a forward hunch. By ignoring the antagonistic muscles of the back and only flexing the chest muscles, the pec muscles tend to shorten and pull the shoulders and chest forward. By working the muscles opposite to the pecs, you get a more balanced posture.

The fingers work the same way. If you only work on strengthening the muscles that close the fingers, you will develop an imbalance in the hands that can lead to pain and overuse injuries. By spending time focusing on the opposing muscles, you will achieve balance in the musculature. Do not be surprised if you actually gain strength in the muscles that flex. Often all a muscle needs to improve is some attention on its antagonistic partner. Rubber bands are a convenient way to accomplish this.

Thirdly, rubber bands can be taken anywhere, and can be used while engrossed in other activities. This convenience can not be underestimated. When something is a hassle, you quickly forget to do it, or find reasons not to. But with rubber bands, there is no excuse. Toss a few in your pocket or purse and they are there whenever you have a free moment. Pretty soon you will find that you subconsciously reach for them while sitting in traffic or waiting for an elevator.

Finally, rubber bands are fun. I do not mean just as a decoration. But, I learned a few magic tricks with them which were really cool. So not only was I receiving therapy for my fingers and hands, but I entertained a few people along the way. The funny thing is, while learning a magic trick, I stopped thinking of the rubber band work as therapy. That is probably why I had such great success with them.

So, grab a handful of rubber bands and get to work. Go to the office superstore, check out different thicknesses and lengths and have some fun on your way to healthy hands.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms – CTS Knumb Me Remedy

A great many cultures believe that herbal remedies play an effective role in healing – even in undoing nerve damage.

Natural salts that you can find in most health food stores, such as ferrum phosphoricum, matricaria recutita, rosemary, ginkgo biloba, kalium phosphate and magnesium phosphate have been found to be helpful. Soaking in diluted solutions prescribed by experienced herbalists can provide pain relief … and appear even to heal some nerve damage and numbness.

What is not known is how or why they help. Some herbalists hypothesize that they meet the brain's nutritional needs while promoting balance to the nervous system.


A remarkable product used in Australia to combat the pain and numbness of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Knumb Me Oil. Only available in certain markets, it has had superb reviews from many users.

If you can find it in your area, give Knumb Me Oil a try. Its main ingredients are garlic, hot peppers, clove oil and olive oil. How can they help?


One of the oldest and most popular natural herbal remedies, garlic has been used for a variety of ailments throughout the centuries.

Some purists would tell you that garlic is most effective raw or freshly squeezed. It has almost no unpleasant side effects other than its strong, pungent odor which can be overpowering to some.

Throughout the centuries, it has been found effective in treating infections, high cholesterol, heart disease, earache and, yes, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Legend, of course, also says it even repels vampires! Garlic has been found preserved in Egyptian tombs and praised in Phoenician texts.

A number of companies today offer odorless pills and oil.


One of the oldest analgesics known to mankind is capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers hot. It is said to be effectively effective against chronic Carpal Tunnel pain because of its warm sensation.

Some CTS sufferers recommend applying a poultice of ground-up hot peppers, then neatly wrapping the affected area.

Throughout history there have been scores of medical applications for capsaicin – from weight loss to relief from symptoms of the common cold.


Clove oil is a natural painkiller with antibacterial properties – and is available at most pharmacies and health food stores. It is one of the oldest known remedies for toothache.

CTS sufferers report that it brings pain relief when applied topically and massaged into the affected area.


The medical benefits of using olive oil in food preparation are well known. However, olive oil is one of the earliest known skin moisturizers. For centuries, it has been used before shaving.

Tests with mice shows that olive oil rubbed on the skin protects against skin cancer and sunburn.

Only rarely does it cause allergic reactions. Traditionally, it has been used as laxative as well as an ear-wax softener. Studies have shown it effective in decreasing heart disease.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers who are interested in trying homeopathic remedies may well also want to seek out a product known as Night Sprint.


Helichrysum is a highly celebrated and aromatic oil from Corsica. It has been used over the ages for calming nerves, softening skin and giving relief from insect bites.

When mixed by an herbalist with certain salts, it is reported to be effective against CTS when applied topically on the affected area.

The word Helichrysum comes from the Greek helios or sun and chrysos or gold, the color of some of the flowers from which it is extracted. It has been used since the time of Homer. The ancient Greeks valued it for its great wound-healing ability and in treating asthma, whooping cough, chronic bronchitis, migraine headaches, liver ailments, skin burns, and psoriasis.

Richly aromatic, it soothes the body and is even said to ease depression. It has a subtle scent of honey and flora.

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The Many Causes of Wrist Pain

Everything from buttoning your jeans to writing out e-mails requires the use of one or both wrists. Having pain in this joint makes just about everything you tackle in a day that much harder. The key to getting rid of the pain is to find out what's causing it. There are several things that can be at fault, and few of them can be healed quickly.

Arthritis is about the most common type of joint pain in general. As the bones of this joint are small, even rheumatoid arthritis could be the culprit. Advanced gout and osteoarthritis are also possible.

To a certain degree, these different forms of arthritis need different treatment, especially when considering home remedies. OA generally requires an anti-inflammatory and topical pain relievers. Capsaicin and an olive oil extract of willow bark and gotu kola are the best home remedies in this case.

Gout is caused by an excess buildup of uric acid in the blood stream. The reason I suggest it may be advanced gout when it's found in the wrist is because it generally starts in the right big toe and works its way to other joints over time. You will definitely need the doctor to help here, but there is one at home remedy that your doctor may suggest … cherry juice.

RA also requires a doctor's help. It's an autoimmune disorder, meaning your immune system is attacking healthy parts of your body. However, if your doctor approves, the same topical pain relievers could be a big help.

In this day of computers, iPhones, iPads, etc., carpal tunnel is a major threat. For most of us, this is caused by repetitive motion, such as typing on the computer. The nerves that lead to your hands run through the bones of the wrist. Because they are inside the bones, there is not much room for swelling to go. This puts a lot of pressure on the nerve and causes quite a bit of pain. It can even cause numbness or the inability to use the hand.

There is not much you can do at home for this, though a few things might help. Definitely anti-inflammatory medications will be useful. You can use the topical pain relievers above, but ice might be your best friend here. In fact, all the RICE formula could be useful. This stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Consult your doctor about how best to do this.

Cysts can form in many areas and the wrist is not immune. Sometimes these cysts can interfere with movement and cause pain, but not all will. While it can be removed, if there is no pain or impediment, your doctor may want to wait and see if it goes away on its own.

Wrist fractures usually occur in a fall or if the patient has weakened bones. Some of them heal fairly easily, but many can take quite some time to heal and you may have a range of motion difficulties once they do. Like fractures, sprains can occur, and these are almost always caused by an injury. Both of these require treatment by your doctor, though there are some things you can do at home. RICE will be a big part of this treatment.

Wrist pain is difficult to deal with, but we'll all probably have a bout or two with it at some point in our lives. When it does occur, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for your case. Make sure the doctor knows of any other medical conditions you have as well as all medications / supplements that you use. This will help with diagnosis and may also decrease the likelihood of side effects or harmful drug / herb interactions.

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What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

If you are a person that spends any amount of time at a computer or perhaps a person that spends a lot of time with a telephone to your ear, then chances are you may end up with a fairly common elbow ailment known as cubital tunnel syndrome. This article is going to talk a little bit about what this syndrome is as well as some of its causes.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the ulnar nerve where it runs through your elbow. This is the particular spot known as the funnybone. When compression starts on this nerve, and it becomes aggravated, some of the symptoms that are known to affect an individual is a numbness in the pinky finger and the ring finger. Usually this starts out as a mild tingling that happens during the night, but over time it can worsen until the numbness becomes continous and eventually causes the hand to lose strength.

This syndrome is also referred to as cell phone elbow. This is because people who are talking on their cell phone all the time often develop it because their elbows are always bent. Some of the other causes which result in this disorder also include sleeping with folded arms, and jobs where it is required that your elbow stay bent for long periods of time.

There are some different stretches that you can do to help treat this malady, and most cases are not too extreme. In some cases though where the symptoms become too much to bear, then the surgeon may opt for surgery. Surgery on cubital tunnel syndrome is not something that is an immediate fix. Normally, for the nerve damage to repair itself, it takes about a month per inch. So if you're forearm is 12 inches long, you can expect a recovery period of at least 12 months before you get all of your feeling and strength back.

Now you know a little bit about what this disorder is, some of its causes, and some of the ways that it can be treated.

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My Wrist Hurts – Do I Have Carpal Tunnel?

Today we will talk about Carpel Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms (CTS).

It is known that Carpel Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms (CTSS) have many guises.

Such as numbness of fingers or wrist numbness. Many of the symptoms may start by some work by hands or using a unique device incorrectly, such as playing computer game over time.

There are many occupations and activities in our daily life that require the use of our hands. For example, a computer specialist or anyone who uses a computer for long-term.

Some sufferers report the feeling in their fingers and hand as feeling swollen, even though no swaining is visible.

It essential that you should understand where the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome disease started from.

You can think back to that time, before the feeling of your numbness or tingling. Think back to what made you use your wrist the most. From using the wrist excessively, the body will let you know that you should stop or slow down.

Carpal tunnel symptoms are caused by many reasons.

Important Tips about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms:

1. Ask yourself, when did you first start having the feeling of numbness and tingling on you wrist. Note the time and date!

2. During that period of time what did you do, what activities were you doing.

3. After knowing the activity that maybe causing the symptoms of numbness and tingling, you should limit the activity as your body is trying to tell you something.

4. Your diet is important for your body also. Please keep it in good habits. Eat healthy food and lots of alkaline food such as apples, at least one apple a day, water is the best source of everything for your body.

5. If this becomes too much, ask yourself is it time for you to see an expert? When I say expert I mean you would think about a doctor and to let the expert check what's happening with your wrist or finger.

6. Do not always believe every single bit that a doctor tells you! You know your own body and you know how far you can go. You do not want to end up in that room “Surgery” if you can help it so make sure to seek alternative methods to help you.

Please try to check out more information from our resource box. There are so many alternatives that could help you to end your surgery!

Good luck and live without numbness!

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Exercises and Stretches Can Be Used To Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain

Extensive research into the effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (or CTS) on our limbs has produced some very interesting results. Scientists at the University of Oklahoma have found that more than 60% of patients experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of this disorder were able to avoid longterm problems and consequentially had no need for surgical intervention. Over and above these they discovered that just spending 5 minutes only per day performing a carpal tunnel exercise program prior to the working day directed in most early sufferers being able to relate their symptoms altogether.

For what can be a very painful condition, these remarkable results have given hope to many. Even though we live in a more “open minded” society which is far more sympathetic to medical and mental health concerns than it has ever been in the past, there is still something of a stigma or lack of belief in the existence of Repetitive Stain Injuries such as Carpal Tunnel. However, following these findings, more patients are finally finding a way to manage, cope with and extremely recover from this debilitating condition. So what are these exercises and just how can we find out more about them?

These exercises are very gentle and repetitive, some of which are used to stretch the muscles around the carpal tunnel region. It is believed that CTS is brought about due to damage to the median nerve located in your arm. Although this is still to be medically proven correct, exercises which strengthen the muscles around the median nerve in order to alleviate any pressure and overexertion there have proven to work.

There are a number of resources available online which detail appropriate exercises which you may desire to adopt. All of them are simple and easy to understand and perform. As a consequence, they are also very easily illustrated in simple diagrams. For anyone wishing to heal painful tingling sensations in their hands, wrist and / or forearms, then let these exercises be your first port of call.

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Ways to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Many people may ask or look for ways to prevent Carpel / Carpal tunnel Syndrome.

From my opinion I think first thing you should do is make sure you have the symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. How can you make sure?

What is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptom?

Symptoms of Carpel tunnel disease are numbness, tingling, pain and can caused sleepless at night because of the pain.

Carpal tunnel Syndrome or CTS results from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.

After understanding about the symptom now you can prevent the Carpal tunnel syndrome from the root of the problem.

Ways to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

1. As soon as you have the symptoms such as numbness on your hand, finger and pain on your wrist area, it is the sign that you are using your hang, finger and wrist too much or not in the right position. So stop doing what you are doing for 10 minutes and go to the sink and put running warm water through your hand and wrist or around the area pained for at least 5 minutes. Is this a starting sign for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Note: You can use hot pack or cold pack

Best thing you can make sure what happened with your body you should go to see the doctor and ask for their advice and do not do everything the doctor will say to you straight away. Just remember it is your body so you will need to think outside the box and find alternative way

2. Have lots of alkaline fruits and vegetable that contains lots of vitamin B6 such as:

  • Brewer's yeast
  • carrots
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • fish
  • meat
  • peas
  • spinach
  • sunflower seeds
  • walnuts
  • and wheat germ
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • beans
  • blackstrap molasses
  • broccoli
  • brown rice and whole grains
  • cabbage
  • cantaloupe
  • corn
  • dulse
  • plantains
  • potatoes
  • rice bran
  • soybeans

3. Set up proper office environment. It is about how you set up your work station. You will need to set up proper office position. It start from your desk, your keyboard, your mouse and your seat.

Always sit in the right position while you are using your computer. You can read more step by step about right positions in work place see resource box for more information.

4. If you know that you will use computer for period of time please make sure set 10 minutes rest every 1 -2 hours

5. Drink lots of water! Water is great to clean out your system. Every time you sit in front of computer get a glass of water on your desk

6. Always eat healthy food

7. Exercise regularly at least once or twice a week.

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12 Easy Steps For Prevention Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms & Medical Care

Kate Montgomery says recovery from repetitive injuries requires a four-pronged approach.

1. A safe working environment;

2. Care by a chiropractic or osteopathic physician, therapeutic muscle therapy, and acupressure or acupuncture;

3. Daily stretching and strengthening exercises; and

4. Proactive efforts to get insurance carriers to reimburs the sufferer for alternative therapies.

Montgomery writes of her belief that 99 percent of the time, surgery is not the answer to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is contradictory to other statistics which claim surgical success in 90 percent of patients.

· Her method of treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) pain includes:

· Being faithful to her 12-step program;

· Using acupressure and other holistic pain-relief techniques to assist in healing;

· Committing to a daily stretching regimen;

· After healing, continuing regular prevention exercises;

· Regularly warm up affected joints and muscles; and

· Making your workstation station ergonomically correct.

Does she promise a miracle cure?

No, in fact, she points out through the book that she makes no claims that she can cure Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

In fact, she states that no cure exists – and that the patient's only hope is in dedicated body maintenance. She says the CTS sufferer must “take charge” of the situation and “become an active participant in healing your body.”

She goes on to assert bluntly that The Montgomery Method is only a “preventative and self-care program that all individuals can incorporated into their daily life.”

She has been advocating her alternative strategy since the early 1990s. Believing that Carpal Tunnel surgery has become far too popular, she began speaking out publicly and then wrote her book, declaring that our culture needs to change how we look at Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

Carpal Tunnel should not be viewed as a “disease” that will someday have a cure, she says. No, it is a liveable condition such as near-sightedness or diabetes or high blood pressure that can be deal with – and under under control.

Drastic measures such as surgery are not the answer, she says. Nor should the condition be considered a debilitating disability coercing sufferers to quit working or withdraw from the things of life that they enjoy.

In fact, she says, attitude is everything.

If a person realizes that they are susceptible to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, then they must adopt a proactive attitude and commit to a battle plan for recovery. Part of that war, she says, is trying out various tactics to see what works and what does not.

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What Is Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel? When Does It Go Away?

Expectant mothers often experience many of the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), although there is nothing wrong with their wrists, their median nerve nor their Carpal Tunnel.

So, what is causing the problem? It's a result of extra fluid in their body from their pregnancy. The good news is that no permanent damage will result. The condition will go away after the body arrives and the mom's body returns to normal.

Sometimes Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) during pregnancy is caused by more than just extra fluid. Doctors cite four reasons for expectant mothers to suffer from wrist pain, palm numbness and tingling fingers.

Hormonal effects

Pregnant women retain water. That can cause swelling all over the body, including the wrists and the casing of the nerves that feed the hand.

Just from the extra fluid an expectant mother's body is holding, nerve can become compressed at the neck, at the shoulder, down the arm and, of course, at the Carpal Tunnel.

Physical Effects

With the extra weight of the baby, a woman's body post changes – just so she can keep her balance. The shoulders roll forward, which causes the front of the neck and the chest muscles to shorten.

When they do, the brachial plexus – the nerves coming from the spine, down the arm and to the wrist – are compressed. The results are the classic symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Pre-Existing Tendencies

Pregnancy Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can also be taken on if the expectant mother has a pre-existing condition, such as tendonitis, making her susceptible to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Her chances of developing CTS is heightened if she is a typist, production line worker or does other work calling for repetitive movements and strain injury to her wrists and hands.

All of the above

The fourth cause of pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a combination of all of the above. Merely by being pregnant, there's going to be some fluid retention and a change in posture to compensate for the baby's weight out in front.

Add that to a pre-disposition to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and a job in which they perform repetitive motions, then it all adds up to a “perfect storm” and the onset of CTS symptoms.

Will it just go away? Usually, yes. Only if symptoms persist 6-12 months after the baby's arrival should the sufferer become worried – and seek medical remedies.

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Typing At A Keyboard Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Right?

The American Academy of Neurology collaborated with the Mayo Clinic to study the relationship between keyboarding and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms. They found no evidence that typing for even up to seven hours a day week after week will provoke the sunset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

They looked at 257 computer typists in a controlled situation. Seventy-six of them, almost 29.5 percent, reported tingling in their fingers and hands. However, only 10.5 percent had symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Further testing of the median nerve found that only 3.5 percent actually had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Those few who did have Carpel Tunnel (CTS) averaged 41.8 years of age and had spent an average of 8.7 years keyboarding about 6.6 hours typing daily. On the other hand, those without Carpal Tunnel Syndrome averaged 42.4 years of age and had spent 6.4 hours a day keyboarding for an average of 8.8 years.

Statistically, such small differences in the two categories prove nothing – and do not point to a trend. Thus, other factors have to be considered. That flies in the face of years of testimony by reputable doctors that almost any hand motion on the job leads to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – CTS.

As a result of such testimony, attorney Michael Rusin says many courts have been far too willing to rule that, since the employee had used his or her hands at work, any Carpal Tunnel Syndrome diagnosis must be job-related.

Before the Mayo Clinic study, says Rusin, no research was available to cast doubt on such beliefs. Rusin says he had wondered for years why doctors did not back up their opinions with scientific data. Now, he says, the Mayo study provides needed evidence – and it reputes the longstanding claims.

Is CTS just too popular? Could it be that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is blamed far too often for a variety of ailments since it has received so much publicity – particularly related to large court settlements? Could workers on production lines be motivated by widespread reports of large cash payouts to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome victims?

After all, a worker with sore wrists may have heard about a CTS patient who allegedly received full disability approval from Social Security and cash from his or her employer. The worker grows envious of someone with similar symptoms who does not have to work, just holds at home and collections benefits.

For a worker in a dead-end position who hates his or her tedious and low-paying job, such a prospect can be overwhelmingly attractive. Such individuals have been known to pressure their doctors into misdiagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in hopes of winning a nice settlement.

Whether real or not, Carpel Tunnel (CTS) issues annually cost American employers more than $ 20 billion in medical expenses and lost work time, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees most at risk are typists and production line workers.

Such injuries have leaped in cost from less than $ 5 million in the 1980s to more than $ 40 million – and they continue to climb.

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Do You Really Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptom?

Do not be so quick to self-diagnose. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome produces a variety of symptoms that range from mild to extreme. Usually the discomfort worsens over time.

But it's entirely possible that you have something else.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) patients report numbness, tingling and burning sensations in their thumb and fingers. Pain also can develop in the arm and shoulder. Swelling of the hand increases at night.

However, diagnosis can be difficult since so many other conditions mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. One of the most common includes “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome,” which is the compression of nerves or blood vessels in the brachial plexus – the nerve fibers running from the spine through the neck, armpit and into the arm.

Another is “Cubital Outlet Syndrome,” the compression of a key nerve in the elbow. Also high on the list of conditions which mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) are tendinitis and arthritis.

Then, there's “Guyon's Canal Syndrome,” which is similar. It, too, results from overuse of the wrist from heavy gripping, twisting, and repeated wrist and hand motions. It can also happen from working with the hand consistently bent down and outward. It occurs in weight-lifters, jackhammer operators and people using crutches.

The symptoms should sound familiar.

The sufferer has the sensation of pins and needles in the ring and little fingers, often in the early morning. As the problem worsens, it may develop into a burning pain in the hand and wrist, followed by numbness in the affected fingers. The patient may become weak and clumsy when trying to pinch the thumb and forefinger or spread all five fingers.

Then there are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fiber myalgia. None of them should be ignored. Untreated lupus can lead to kidney failure. Untreated rheumatoid arthritis will worsen with serious damage to joints and bones.

Rheumatoid arthritis' symptoms include tendness and swelling around the joints – as well as increasing pain, fever, redness, fatigue and weight loss.

Lupus has many of the same warning signs, particularly joint pain. However, lupus patients also experience facial rashes, mouth sores, bruising, chest pain and breathing difficulty. Other diseases that mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include tendonitis, bursitis, sprains, dislocations and gout.

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How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Or Something Else Altogether?

Watch a bicycle racer and you'll notice a great deal of the rider's weight is focused on the feet and hands. Sure, riders do sit back on the bicycle seat, even when pushing up a hill, accelerating or fighting for position, a great deal of weight is on the hands, which not only steer, but also slow the bike as the rider grips the brake handles.

For this very reason, a lot of bicycle racers and cross-country bike tourists suffer from an ailment that acts a lot like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Indeed, in the Tour de France and the other famous bicycle races, more and more riders have non-traditional handlebars that extend out in front with supports for the forearm.

These new bars allow the rider to be more aerodynamic but were actually developed to prevent “cyclist's palsy,” which causes numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the hands and wrist.

Is cyclist's palsy just another name for Carpel Tunnel? Not at all. There are distinct differences. Cyclist's palsy affects as many as 25 percent of serious cyclists – and is easily easily by wearing padded gloves that cushion the wrist and prevent the rider's weight from resting on the ball of the hand.

And Cyclist's palsy is not the only ailment that mimics Carpel Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.

A number of doctors insist that vast numbers of sufferers often have something other than Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). However, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has received so much publicity that some worry that it has become the stylish condition of the moment, particularly for unskilled workers on production lines.

Some workers are motivated by exaggerated reports of large settlements paid to Carpel Wrist Tunnel patients. Others jump at the chance to be declared permanently disabled so they can take early retirement.

So, some people want to be diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.

So, do you really have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

Do not be so quick to self-diagnose. Carpal Tunnel (CTS) produces a variety of symptoms that range from mild to extreme. Usually the discomfort worsens over time.

But it's entirely possible that you have something else.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) patients report numbness, tingling and burning sensations in their thumb and fingers. Pain also can develop in the arm and shoulder. Swelling of the hand increases at night.

However, diagnosis can be difficult since so many other conditions mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

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Five Ways to Avoid a Halloween Pumpkin Carving Injury

Each year, thousands of people carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Through the years, while the object carved and the faces created have varied, one thing has stayed consistent – something sharp must be used to cut these things up!

In late October and early November, masses of people injure themselves cutting up pumpkins and are valued by ER doctors and hand surgeons.

Most injuries are minor – a fall cut that will heal on its own or with some simple sutures. However, only a few fractions of an inch separate a small cut from a larger, potentially devastating hand injury – a cut tendon or nerve that will not heal without surgery and a long recovery process. Additionally, even a small cut can become infected if not cared for correctly.

These simple tips and guidelines will help you avoid a disastrous hand injury this fall.

1. Keep your work area clean, dry and well-lit

Any water or moisture on the table, cutting tools, or your hands, can cause you to slip with the knife and cut your hand or someone nearby.

Make sure all working surfaces and your knife handle are dry. Do not handle the slippery pumpkin flesh with your bare hands and then grab the knife to keep cutting. You may even want to use gloves with good rubberized grips when you are cutting.

2. Sharper is not always better

Generally, sharper knives give you more control when cutting up food in the kitchen, but carving a pumpkin is different in many ways.

A sharper knife may become more deeply wedged in the pumpkin, and it will take a much larger force to pull it out. Obviously you want to avoid strong, sudden forceful movements with a sharp knife to avoid injury.

If the knife is sharp (and long) enough, it may travel clear through the pumpkin and out the other side, where you might be stabilizing it with your other hand.

3. Be Patient!

Perhaps this one is just common sense, but we've all been around excited kids at Halloween whose intentions tend to drive parents batty (so to speak).

Take your time and make sure you're carving in a controlled, deliberate, unhurried manner. Trust me, spending six months of your life recovering from a nerve or tendon injury is not an enjoyable experience. You've got better things to do!

4. Let adults do the carving

Adults can injure themselves as well as kids, but experience with a knife does reduce the risk of injury. Carving should be done in short, controlled strokes with even pressure, always cutting away from yourself or your hands.

Adults should be supervising any pumpkin carving activity involving teenagers or children. Never leave children unsupervised when knives are involved.

There are plenty of jobs for kids to do during pumpkin carving season. They can create designs for the faces and draw them out on each pumpkin with permanent marker. Children can take turns scooping out seeds from each pumpkin with a large spoon, or putting the cut up pieces into a bowl.

5. Prepare for success and safety

The right preparation, the right tools, and the right pumpkin carving techniques will improve safety and the quality of your jack-o-lantern project.

A specialized scraping tool may help you thin out the pumpkin walls. This lets you create more sophisticated designs and greatly improves the safety of the process. The thinner the walls, the less resistance you'll have to push through as you carve the pumpkin. You can find these serrated spatula tools in most Halloween specialty stores or online.

A specialized saw or pumpkin cutting tool is a safer way to cut the pumpkin wall and avoid injury. These are not expensive and are available online and in local stores.

Getting help after a pumpkin carving injury

Most cuts or injuries to the hand or fingers will stop bleeding after 5 to 10 minutes with some firm pressure with a clean dishcloth or paper towel. A visit to the emergency room or a doctor may be the best solution if the cut is very deep or does not stop bleeding.

Signs of a more seriously damaged finger or hand include numbness in the fingertip or noticing that your finger will not bend or straighten normally. In some situations, early treatment may be necessary to prevent serious infection.

Your treating physician will usually be able to tell if it's appropriate to send you to see a hand surgeon. Most hand injuries that require surgery need to be evaluated by a hand surgeon no later than 5 to 7 days after the injury.

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