Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disease caused by the impingement or compression of the median nerve. It mainly affects the hand and forearm with symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling. This is why we want to talk to you about the causes of this disease and how to treat it with cryotherapy.
If you want to know how to use the hot and cold gel packs to relieve the pain of carpal tunnel in the wrist have a look at the following.
What are the causes and origin of hand and wrist pain from carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow tube formed by bones and ligament in the wrist. The flexor tendons of the fingers and the median nerve pass through it. This nerve is responsible for giving sensation to the fingers (except the little finger) and controlling the muscles around the base of the thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, on the other hand, is an injury characterized by pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the hand and forearm. It occurs when the median nerve is compressed or pinched inside the carpal tunnel.
In general, any factor that causes a reduction in the space available in this cavity can produce this injury. In addition, there is no single cause for the development of this disease.
Although, most commonly this injury arises from the combination of several of the following risk factors associated with carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Genetic inheritance: Some people have a narrower than normal carpal tunnel or have anatomical features that reduce the space available for the median nerve. These features can be inherited.
- Repetitive activities: Activities that involve repetitive or forced manual manoeuvres for a long time or cause micro-trauma. These can create increased pressure on the median nerve. Here the frequent use of vibrating tools is highlighted as a risk factor.
- Pregnancy and menopause: During these periods fluid retention is increased which can increase pressure in the tunnel.
- Rheumatic or inflammatory diseases: Such is the case of rheumatoid arthritis that can inflame the synovial membrane of the flexor tendons, thus putting pressure on the median nerve.
- Depot diseases such as amyloidosis and mucopolysaccharidosis: These cause the abnormal accumulation of proteins in the body and are often associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Diseases causing nerve damage: Chronic conditions such as diabetes increase the risk of damage to nerves, including the median nerve.
- Other diseases: Such as kidney failure, lymphoedema and thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism and acromegaly) increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Medicines: This injury can be caused by the intake of some drugs. These may include aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole), oral anticoagulants and bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis.
- Tumours or cysts: these grow on the wrist, increasing pressure in the tunnel.
- Fracture, dislocation or deformation of the bones in the wrist: This can alter the space and increase pressure on the median nerve.
- Obesity: People who are overweight are at greater risk of suffering from this condition.
- Gender: This injury affects women more than men. This can be explained by the fact that female carpal tunnel is often smaller than male carpal tunnel.
- Age: This syndrome is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 60.
It should be noted that, at an early stage, this injury can be treated with simple measures such as: immobilization of the wrist, infiltration of steroids, rest and application of cryotherapy. However, if not treated in time, the symptoms can worsen and sometimes surgery must be performed.
What are the advantages of applying cold to reduce pain from carpal tunnel syndrome?
Cryotherapy is recommended to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. This method is very effective in reducing pain and inflammation mainly. To implement it you can use a hot/cold gel pack like the ones we offer.
Below, we explain the main benefits of cryotherapy in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Anti-inflammatory effect: The cold produces the constriction of the blood vessels, a process known as vasoconstriction. This generates a decrease in blood flow which reduces and prevents inflammation. In addition, some studies maintain that low temperatures promote the presence of anti-inflammatory agents and reduce the levels of inflammatory substances.
- Analgesic power: Cryotherapy can significantly reduce pain. On the one hand, it numbs the nerves by reducing the transmission of nerve impulses that indicate In fact, cold can relieve pinched nerves, which is essential in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, low temperatures relieve the pain associated with swelling because of their anti-inflammatory effect.
- Relief from muscle spasms: The cold produces a relaxing effect that relieves tension in the muscles. Thus, it is able to reduce spasticity or muscle spasms.
How to use the cold gel packs to reduce the swelling of the wrists and hands?
The gel pads for cold and heat are ideal packs for cryotherapy or thermotherapy. The best thing is that they can reach high and low temperatures and adapt comfortably to the body.
It should be noted that some of our products have a compression band to ensure maximum adjustment to the injured area. Also, they include a protective cover, to avoid direct contact with the skin and provide maximum comfort and convenience during use.
Now, using the ice gel packs to relieve carpal tunnel pain is very easy, just follow these steps:
- Place the pack in the refrigerator or freezer for two hours.
- After this time remove the pack from the refrigerator and check its temperature. Depending on what you consider cooler, leave it out in the open to warm up a bit or proceed to the next step.
- Place the pack on the corresponding wrist for approximately 20 minutes.
- You can adjust it with the compression band that comes with our pads, but do not tighten it too much. Remember that we seek to reduce the pressure on the median nerve.
- It is recommended that this procedure be carried out 3 or 4 times a day during the first 3 days after the injury has occurred.
Also, hot and cold immersions or contrast therapy can be applied to activate blood circulation, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You should only immerse the affected hand in a container of hot water for 30 seconds.
Then, you should immerse the hand for 15 more seconds in cold water. This process can be repeated for 3 minutes. Another way to relieve the pain of carpal tunnel in the wrist is through a massage or self-massage of heat, at least 5 minutes per session.