The heavy use of smartphones can cause a nervous impediment in the wrist with painful tingling, the so-called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (KTS). This is confirmed by current studies from Asia. "Rotating movements in the wrist reinforce KTS, this is well known," confirms Professor Dr. Med. Helmut Buchner of the German Society for Clinical Neurophysiology and Functional Imaging (DGKN) in a press release. Anyone who often feels numbness in the second and third fingers should consult a neurologist. For pregnant women, topical cortisone injections are particularly suitable for treatment.
How do you feel about carpal tunnel complaints?
For a long time doctors have known that discomfort in the carpal tunnel can be caused by intensive manual labor. "Butchers around KTS are considered to be occupational diseases," Buchner says. "Rotating knife wrist movements promote nervousness." This also applies to intensive knitting or cleaning, which constantly pulls out Wsche. "In this sense, it is likely that a dramatic increase in the use of smartphones and computer keyboards can trigger CCCs, even if so far only studies in Asia have proven this," the neurologist explains. "I see no reason why it should be different for us."
Women are more often affected than men
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve that is pressurized under pressure, passing through the wrist at a narrow point. The cause is usually swelling, which is the result of stressful movements as well as nighttime sleep with bent wrists, heavy weight gain or hormonal effects such as pregnancy and menopause. "Women are affected three to four times more often than men," Buchner explains. "Because of their monthly cycle, swelling may be easier." Swelling often leads to inflammation, which in turn can cause scarring, which further impairs blood circulation and promotes swelling.
What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The first symptoms are numbness in the tips of the first three fingers, from thumb to middle finger. "Trembling feels electrifying and burning," says Buchner. Shaking someone's hands often makes the sensations disappear. In the further course of the pain may occur, even at night pull in the arm. "Finally, numbness can lead to permanent tingling and muscle to the side of the thumb of the affected hand," explained DGKN expert Buchner, who works at the department of neurology and clinical neurophysiology at Knappschaftskrankenhaus Recklinghausen.
To clarify if KTS is present, the neurologist first asks for anamnesis and complaints. Then there are usually two simple tests. During Falen's test, the patient presses his palms together as if praying and at the same time flexes his wrists at a 90-degree angle. "In this regard, you provoke consternation," Buchner explains. "If there is no feeling of numbness in two minutes, there is no KTS." In Hoffman-Tinell's sign, the doctor taps the median nerve into the inside of the wrist with his finger. If this causes numbness in the fingertips, this is an indication of KTS.
The clear statement is made by electrical diagnostics and electroneurography. "With light pulses of electricity, we measure how long it takes the median nerve to transmit a stimulus," Buchner says. If it takes too long, which is longer than 4.2 to 4.5 milliseconds, the nerve has failed. Then therapy may be needed. "It's a three-step approach," Buchner says.
What helps with carpal tunnel syndrome?
In the beginning, it sometimes helps to avoid stress – for example, with a railing that prevents joints from contracting. "Or by abandoning the heavy use of smartphones, especially with rotating wrist movements, like wiping the display," Buchner says. However, behavioral changes do not solve the problems, according to DGKN's expert.
A single injection of anti-inflammatory cortisone often hits the throat, a procedure rarely used in Germany. "This treatment is especially suitable for pregnant women whose hormonal balance changes again after birth," says Buchner. According to Buchner, concerns about the unborn child are unfounded: "The dose of cortisone is minimal and only locally effective."
However, the most common and effective procedure is surgery, which becomes inevitable if symptoms continue. In this way, a hand or neurosurgeon divides the ribbon of connective tissue above the carpal tunnel through a smaller incision in localized obstruction so that the pinched nerve receives more space and pressure drops. About 300,000 such interventions take place every year in Germany.
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