Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The Evolution

  Definition:

carpal-tunnel-ligament

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where a person experiences pain, tingling, numbness, restrictive movements, and other hand problems caused by pressure of the median nerve in your wrist.  Inside your wrist, there is a passage called the Carpal Tunnel, which is narrow but filled with tendons, ligaments, and nerves including the median nerve. This median nerve connects from your neck that passes through your arms and wrist, which then spreads to your fingers. The pressure is caused mainly by inflammation or swelling of ligaments.

There are several reasons why ligaments swell or become inflamed. One example is overuse of wrist sideways movements. Another is lifting heavy objects where a person is not capable of lifting that weight, and repetitive twisting of wrists while applying force and so on. These cause the ligaments to tear, swell, then puts pressure on the median nerve which inhibits it to work naturally. Treatment of CTS has two ways; one is surgery to free up or fix the median nerve, and two is to reverse the swelling or damage of the ligaments which consists of these 3 methods. The former should be the last resort form of treatment.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome of the Past

medieval-knight-wrist-pain

During the Medieval Period, Knights have complained injuring their wrists due to engaging in battles using heavy swords. The reason is because when they try to swing their swords using one hand (the other is for the shield), inertia makes it difficult to hold on to the sword, straining the nearest joint – the wrist.

Fractured bones in the wrists were also found by researchers in ancient ancestral skeletons, hinting that injury to the wrists existed thousands of years ago. However not until the year 1854 where Sir James Paget, an English surgeon, reported a median nerve compression in the wrist of a patient. Then during 1938, a neurologist named Frederick Moersch just coined the term “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” which is caused by median nerve compression. By 1950s, Dr. George S. Phalen, an American hand surgeon, established identifying CTS as a clinical pathology after working with a group of patients. Since then, physicians have recognized that any form of wrist pain, tingling, numbness of fingers and what not, are possibly associated with the same condition.

Modern Era

Not until the 1990s when office jobs became abundant that possibly have caused the spread of this disease. Accountants who used to write their journal entries on actual journal ledgers made of paper are now typing numbers on a keyboard. Back then engineers used to draw their equations and plans on long illustration papers, now they use software or programs in a computer to generate their design.

carpal-tunnel-computer-mouse

Personal Computers and laptops have emerged ever since. Early computer designers have never thought that overuse of the hands just by typing on a flat keyboard and scrolling a flat mouse would ever cause something so peculiar such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Today, everyone uses a computer, which means there are more chances of people getting this condition. Also, the rising popularity of video games has greatly contributed to the spread of this condition because of intensified repetitive movements of the wrists.

By the early 2000, CTS have been known widely especially during the rise of the internet where you can simply post your personal complains anywhere from writing blogs to just posting on forums. Now with the popularity of social media, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is now a word describing anything related to pain in the wrist. Anyone can post anything what they feel for everyone to see! For instance, we have seen many Facebook posts like… “Wrist pain please go away!” Physicians, therapists, and industry leaders in the computer business have realized the rise of this condition; hence more products are created and more exercises are formulated for its treatment.  Here’s an analogy, when a new virus is detected, an anti-virus will be created to fight this off.  This website has the best collection of products that should serve as “anti-virus” for CTS. So shop on and grab what you need to prevent or treat this disease.