What Is Tunnel Syndrome
Tunnel syndrome or tunnel neurology is compression of the median nerve in the narrow compartment of the hand, so-called carpal tunnel. The transverse fascia forms the compartment. It also performs the role of the tunnel where muscles of the fingers, the blood vessels, and the median nerve pass. The nerve plays an important role in the upper limb pronation and palmar flexion. Also, it extends the terminal phalanges. The sensitive part of the nerve is the palmar surface of fingers 1 to 3 and half of the 4th finger. The disease is manifested by impaired sensitivity, neuropathic pain syndrome (tingling sensation in the hand), limitation of flexion of the fingers. The ailment progress could damage both sides of the hand.
The respective research fact-finding does not highlight some positive arguments. According to clinical trials, specialized doctors could frequently find a carpal tunnel among female patients. The female-to-male ratio of its prevalence is approximately 3:1.
Such statistical outcomes have resulted from the triggers of this disease. Hence, periodical hormonal imbalance, predisposition to calcium deficit, and monotonous work make women more vulnerable to this disease. On the surface, carpal tunnel syndrome may seem like an easily treated disturbance. However, this is a mistaken belief, and the conditions could suddenly disappear, or the damaged median nerve is healed in a miraculous way. The relief process is extended and complicated because some cases require the surgeon’s interventions.
This neurological disorder responds to the treatment procedures if the patient receives medical aid promptly and follows all the neurologist’s prescriptions. In this case, the chances to overcome the signs and effects of the succumbed disability are pretty high.
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes
The median nerve-injured syndrome occurs when the nerve is compressed. The compression could be caused by the different factors more typical for female patients. Such reasons can be summed up into the following items:
- menopause hormonal changes in female organism which affect most organs’ functions;
- inheritance factors due to genetic ties and DNA structure;
- traumas caused by external triggers;
- development of anomalies which could be associated with the other diseases or disorders;
- synovitis meaning the inflammatory pain in the case of joints and ligaments;
- tenosynovitis related to inflammation of the ligaments or their case;
- diseases of the joints which are dangerous for health and even life of the respective patients;
- innocent or cancerous tumors;
- edema diseases which are typical signs during endocrine illness or pregnancy.
Trauma to the carpal tunnel is often chronic and stemming from professional activities. Pathology is typical for musicians, people who type a lot on the keyboard, and those who perform minor, monotonous work with their fingers.
When a median nerve is compressed, and its blood supply is disrupted, this leads to degenerative changes and proliferation of connective tissue through the extended period. The disease begins to develop when perception is disturbed, neuropathic pain syndrome appears. The illness progress anticipates motor function effects and motor disorders.
The negative feature of neurological diseases is that they are closely connected with the other nervous disorders untreated or unexamined properly. Therefore, you should be aware of universal factors for all neurology-related ailments to keep strong and healthy bones, joints, ligaments, and blood vessels.
Symptomatology for tunnel syndrome diagnosis
The disease begins with acute and permanent pain impulses, inflammation, pins and needles in the heel of the affected hand, numbness reactions for an extended period. Seizures usually occur at night. The clinical cases could describe the painful lesions in one arm, but the syndrome can be bilateral. Rubbing the problem area and shaking arms allows to get rid of unpleasant sensations; however, such procedures are helpful only for a short time.
As the disease progresses, paresthesias and impaired motor function are added to the pain. To this extent, the patient feels numbness. Compression of the median nerve leads to difficulty grasping objects with the thumb, impaired flexion of fingers 1 to 3; this creates problems in everyday life and restricts professional activities.
Moreover, such vegetative disorders accompany cold hands, inflammatory sensitization, swelling, and redness.
To reach practical relief effects, the potential patient should receive the correct diagnostic procedure. You should understand that the complete clinical picture, including pain investigation, paresthesia in the innervation zone of the median nerve, and fixation of disturbances lead to the diagnosis of the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms proved after a conversation with a patient and a neurological examination. The primary diagnostic actions are quite straightforward. The doctor should knock the area of the hand nerve compartment, and the clear painful reactions would prove the tunnel syndrome. Passive hand movements provoke the development of unpleasant signs; the neurologists call this phenomenon the Fauville symptom.
To confirm the diagnosis, the following examinations are carried out:
- computed tomography;
The above diagnostic techniques help gain a reliable neurology diagnosis and prepare the treatment plan for a positive outcome.
How to treat carpal tunnel
If the nerve compression is caused by trauma, anatomical defects must eliminate the core trigger impact. To this end, the treating doctor decides to apply surgical solutions followed by immobilization of the hand. Dislocations are remedied without surgical manipulations.
If the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include edema signs, you need to determine its cause and location and treat the underlying disease. As usual, these are harmful endocrine and inflammatory processes. In cases characterized by severe edema, the doctor may detect diuretics or any other substance influencing the urine.
To eliminate pain, the neurologist could prescribe particular medical products such as corticosteroid drugs and anesthetics to blockchain the painful reaction in the injured wrists.
In addition, to reduce edema and the inflammatory process, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended. Besides, anticonvulsants are used to relieve neuropathic pain syndrome.
Vascular therapy (pentoxifylline) and metabolic therapy (B vitamins, thioctic acid preparations) can improve the nervous tissue’s metabolism to avoid the irreversible consequences of ischemia.
In complex therapy, the neurologists include physiotherapy in the comprehensive relief agenda. The patient shall follow magnetic laser, magnetotherapy, ultrasound with hydrocortisone, acupuncture, massage, a special set of exercises, balneotherapy, or mud applications on the carpal tunnel area.
If conservative treatment is ineffective, surgical dissection of the transverse ligament is indicated; this allows the carpal tunnel to be widened. The surgical procedures are identified for 10% of the respective patients.