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What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist made up of bones and ligaments. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
The median nerve, which controls sensation and movement in the thumb and first three fingers, runs through this passageway along with tendons to the fingers and thumb.
If you enjoy the outdoors, be careful of ticks -- they can attach as you brush past grass and plants.
It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. When it's pinched or compressed, the result is numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the hand, called carpal tunnel syndrome. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
At first, you're most likely to notice it at night or when you first wake up in the morning. Tick BitesOnce a tick latches onto skin, it often moves to the warm, moist armpits and groin -- feeding on blood and passing on any disease it carries. The feeling is similar to the "pins-and-needles" sensation you get when your hand falls asleep. During the day, you may notice pain or tingling when holding things, like a phone or a book, or when driving. Symptoms: WeaknessAs carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, you may begin to notice weakness in the thumb and first two fingers, and it may be difficult to make a fist or grasp objects. You may find yourself dropping things, or you may have trouble doing things like holding a utensil or buttoning your shirt. Symptoms: Sensation ProblemsCarpal tunnel syndrome can also cause a feeling of numbness in the hands.
Some people feel like their fingers are swollen, even though no swelling is present, or they may have trouble distinguishing between hot and cold.
Infected ticks usually don't spread the disease until they've been attached for at least 36 hours.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?There usually isn't one definitive cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Because the carpal tunnel is narrow and rigid, anytime there is swelling or inflammation in the area, the median nerve can be compressed and cause pain.
Symptoms may be present in one or both hands (usually symptoms develop in the dominant hand first). Untreated Lyme disease may spread to other parts of the body, including the muscles, joints, heart, and nervous system. Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?Women are three times more likely than men to get carpal tunnel syndrome. Black Widow Spiders: Venomous!Wood piles and tree stumps -- that's where venomous female black widows hide. She is long-legged and glossy black, with a distinctive orange, red, or yellow "hourglass" shape on her underside. But it's actually three times more common among assembly line workers than it is among data-entry personnel -- and frequent use of vibrating hand tools increases the risk. In contrast, one study found that even heavy computer use -- up to seven hours a day -- did not make people more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.  What Happens Without Treatment?At first, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome come and go, but as the condition worsens, symptoms may become constant. Black Widow Spider BitesBlack widow spider bites may cause stabbing pain in the bite area, but they can also be painless.
Over time, if untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause the muscles on the thumb side of your hand to waste away (atrophy). Severe muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, seizure, and a rise in blood pressure may follow soon after.


Carpal Tunnel or Something Else?A few conditions have symptoms that can mimic carpal tunnel syndrome. Brown Recluse Spiders Can Have a Nasty BiteHiding in attics and closets -- in Midwestern and Southern states -- that's where you'll find brown recluse spiders.
The Tinel test involves tapping on the median nerve to see if it causes tingling in the fingers. In the Phalen test, the doctor will have you press the backs of your hands together for a minute to see if this causes numbness or tingling. Electrodiagnostic TestsTo confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will order a nerve conduction study. In this test, electrodes are placed on the hands and wrists, and small electric shocks are applied to measure how quickly the median nerve transmits impulses.
Brown Recluse Spider BitesWhen the brown recluse bites, it is often painless -- then skin may redden, turn white, blister, and becomes painful. Another test, called electromyography, uses a fine needle inserted into a muscle to measure electrical activity and assess damage to the median nerve.
Treatment: Rest and ImmobilizationUnderlying causes such as diabetes or arthritis will need treatment.
Then your doctor may advise resting the hand and wrist and wearing a brace to limit movement. Night use is important to prevent the wrist from curling during sleep, which can make symptoms flare up. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, along with cold compresses, may reduce pain.
Medications for Carpal TunnelWhen carpal tunnel symptoms are more severe, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids by injection or by mouth. If you have lice, you likely got it from sharing a hat, brush, or other item with a person who has lice. Other things that may help include diuretics, also known as “water pills,” which reduce swelling, and vitamin B6 supplements. Surgery for Carpal Tunnel SyndromeIf surgery is needed, it's typically done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia (meaning you’re awake during surgery).
Head Lice RemediesTo kill lice and their eggs (called nits), use lotions, creams, or shampoos from the drug store or prescribed by your doctor which are designed specifically for lice.
Wash clothing, bedding, and brushes in hot water and dry in a hot dryer of dry clean to prevent the spread of lice. Sometimes the procedure is done endoscopically, using a tiny camera inserted through a very small incision to guide the procedure.
What to Expect After SurgeryThere may be some swelling and stiffness right after surgery, which can be relieved by elevating your hand over your heart and moving your fingers frequently. Flea BitesSome people are very sensitive to flea bites -- but scratching can cause a wound or infection. You may need to wear a wrist brace for a few weeks while you heal, but will still be able to use your hands. Pain and weakness usually resolve within two months after surgery, but it may take six months to a year to recover completely. Strengthening ExercisesOnce carpal tunnel symptoms subside, a physical therapist can teach you stretching and strengthening exercises to help prevent pain, numbness, and weakness from coming back.
A physical or occupational therapist can also teach you the correct ways to perform tasks so that the median nerve is less likely to become inflamed again, causing symptoms to return. Complementary TreatmentsSome studies suggest that chiropractic manipulation of the wrist, elbow, and upper spine can improve carpal tunnel syndrome. Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow JacketWhen certain types of bees sting, they lose their stinger and die. There is also some evidence that acupuncture may help restore nerve function and relieve symptoms.


But a wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket can inflict multiple stings because it does not lose the stinger. It’s important to speak with your doctor before starting these or any other complementary or alternative treatments.
Can Yoga Ease Carpal Tunnel?There's strong evidence that yoga can reduce pain and improve grip strength. Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket StingsIf you don't have an allergic reaction, simply remove the stinger, clean the sting site, apply ice, take oral antihistamine for itching, and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief. In one small study, participants who did an eight-week yoga regimen of 11 postures designed to strengthen, stretch, and balance the joints of the upper body had better outcomes than participants who wore wrist splints and participants who were given no treatment at all.
If you have a severe anaphylactic reaction, use an epinephrine auto-injector if you have one. During an attack, the fire ant latches onto the skin with its jaw, then stings from its abdomen. Specifically, chiggers are the juvenile (or larval) form of a family of mites called Trombiculidae. Chigger BitesAfter a few days of being attached to the skin, chiggers fall off -- leaving itchy red welts. Scabies: Stealthy PestsWhen scabies mites get into the skin, they can cause a big skin problem.
The mites spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person -- or by sharing towels, bed linens, and other objects. Treating ScabiesIntense itching and skin sores don't appear until several weeks after mites get into skin. The rash typically is seen on the sides and webs of the fingers, the wrist, elbows, genitals, and buttock. Bedbugs: Hitching a RideTheir name tells the tale, as these tiny insects tend to hide in bedding. They are often found in hotels, shelters, and apartment complexes -- and can hitch a ride into your home aboard luggage, pets, and boxes.
More of a nuisance than a health hazard, it is possible to develop an infection from scratching. If you have an allergic skin reaction, use creams with corticosteroids and take oral antihistamines -- and see your doctor. Puss Caterpillar StingsWhen a puss caterpillar stings, you may get waves of intense pain, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps. Remove the broken-off spines by using cellophane tape or a commercial facial peel -- and call your doctor. Symptoms of a sting include pain, swelling, itching, vomiting, increased sweating, and vision problems. Some types of deerflies spread Tularemia, an infectious bacterial disease that requires medical attention.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, apply insect repellent and cover up when you go outdoors. Houseflies: Dirty, Hairy!A housefly is a dirty insect -- carrying more than 1 million bacteria on its body. To control flies, keep food and garbage in closed containers and use window screens on your home.
It helps to use pesticides (or an exterminator), keep a clean kitchen, and repair cracks and holes in floors and walls.



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