Cold, damp weather can exacerbate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
Your hand hurts, and you find you can’t move it all of a sudden. The fingers might become swollen and rigid. The discomfort travels up your arm and maybe into your neck and shoulders.
These are a few symptoms of CTS, which affects 4 to 10 million Americans in and out of the workplace. CTS can be caused by genetics, lifestyle, work, etc., ultimately determining the treatment type. If you think you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you should confirm this by visiting a medical specialist.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS is a painful, progressive disorder caused by increasing pressure on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm. The carpal tunnel is a channel of ligaments and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons. The swelling puts pressure on the median nerve, resulting in pain and discomfort as the tendons thicken and become inflamed.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cold Weather, and Symptom Relief
Cold weather is known to aggravate nerve and joint discomfort and intensify the symptoms of some illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.
Furthermore, lower temperatures cause tissues and muscles to expand, putting additional pressure on the median nerve, which travels through the wrists and produces wrist discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have exacerbated carpal tunnel symptoms due to the cold weather, here are some methods to help:
- When going outside, wear warm gloves or mittens.
- Move your hands, fingers, and wrists constantly to encourage good blood circulation.
- Use a supportive wrist brace while working on the computer or other repetitive tasks.
- Inform your employer of your condition so that they can supply ergonomics work equipment.
- Discuss any pain or discomfort you are experiencing with your doctor.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Treated
There are many non-medical “treatments” available that claim to help patients deal with CTS discomfort. Most of these treatments provide more placebo than comfort, which is why having an expert evaluate your hands is the best approach. The doctor will do a nerve conduction investigation to determine whether the median nerve is behind your discomfort.
While surgery is a possibility and may eventually be necessary, there are various primary therapies that a professional hand specialist may use to ease discomfort. A splint can keep the wrist straight and minimize inflammation; abstain from repetitive tasks that may be the source of discomfort; over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and swelling; and physical therapy. Cortisone injections, which alleviate pain and inflammation, may also be advised.
Patients should consider surgery if nonsurgical therapy fails to relieve discomfort for six months or more.
We use our hands to brush our hair, put on makeup, shave, brush our teeth, play instruments, write, dine, work, clean, surf the web, shovel snow, garden, cook, type, play video games, ski, text, and use smartphones. Despite all these functions, humans tend to take their hand and wrist health for granted.
Stop tolerating hand and wrist discomfort by talking to us today at North Florida Hand and Wrist Center. We strive to help patients find the best carpal tunnel syndrome treatment and other conditions so they can live to the fullest. Our facility in Jacksonville, FL, is managed by our expert team, led by Dr. Richard D. Curtis and Dr. Jose Baez. Make an appointment today!