Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition with symptoms including numbness, tingling and other discomforts in the hand and arm. This is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist, though there is no definitive answer as to the exact reason the nerve gets compressed. It is thought to be due to the anatomy of your wrist, repetitive hand motions, typing positions or health problems left undiagnosed and without treatment. Anything that irritates or squeezes the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist fracture can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve, just like the swelling and inflammation rheumatoid arthritis you may give you. There is no single cause in many cases. It may be that a combination of risk factors contributes to the development of the condition. The good news is that there is relief from carpal tunnel syndrome, and it doesn’t have to be as invasive as you thought.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
While there are several symptoms related to carpal tunnel syndrome, here are some of the most common you’ll hear of. These symptoms can come and go, and are not always present.
- Weakness, loss of strength: When someone suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, they may experience a weakness or loss of strength in their hand, their grip. They may drop objects or have a difficult time opening jars when they previously had no problems with their hand strength or grip. This happens because of a numbness in the hand or weakening of the thumb’s muscles, which are controlled by the median nerve, the nerve that gets compressed in the carpal tunnel.
- Tingling or numbness.Your fingers or hand may tingle or feel numb. This typically affects the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers, but not your little finger.
The tingling or numbness may travel from your wrist up your arm. These symptoms often occur while holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper. Some people have reported that it can wake them from a deep sleep.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Many factors have been associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. These factors might not turn into carpal tunnel syndrome but have been found to possibly cause it. They include:
- Anatomic factors: A wrist fracture or dislocation, or arthritis that deforms the small bones in the wrist, can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and put pressure on the median nerve.
- Gender: Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally more common in women. This may be because the carpal tunnel area is relatively smaller in women than in men. People with smaller carpal tunnels may be more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Inflammatory conditions: Illnesses that are characterized by inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the lining around the tendons in your wrist and put pressure on your median nerve.
- Nerve-damaging conditions: Some chronic illnesses, like diabetes, increase your risk of nerve damage, including damage to your median nerve.
- Obesity: Being obese is a significant risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Fluid Retention: Fluid retention may increase the pressure within your carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve. This is common during pregnancy and menopause. If you have an onset of carpal tunnel syndrome when you become pregnant, it will likely resolve itself after your pregnancy.
When You Should See A Doctor
If you have signs and symptoms that make you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome you should see a doctor that specializes in orthopedic medicine. If you do not seek treatment, you could end up with permanent nerve and muscle damage.
Can You Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Science has not shown a way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but there are ways you can minimize stress on your hands and wrists.
- Change your computer mouse: Using your computer mouse should be comfortable and should not strain your wrist.
- Don’t pound, just peck, and relax your grip: If your work involves a cash register or keyboard tap the keys softly. When you are handwriting something, like a lengthy letter, use a bigger pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
- Watch your form: Keep your keyboard at elbow height or a little lower. Don’t flex your wrists too far one way or the other.
- Take frequent breaks: Gently stretch and bend hands and wrists periodically.
- Keep your hands warm: This almost goes without saying, but you will be more comfortable with warm hands.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does not discriminate and affects both genders and all races. If you notice you’re dealing with the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your orthopedic medical provider. Do not ignore the symptoms, especially if they persist for several days or more. And, getting relief from carpal tunnel syndrome does not have to be as invasive and unpleasant as it was years ago. Ask your orthopaedic specialist if they use Sonex products for minimally invasive and quick recovery options for carpal tunnel release.
Dr. Joseph uses ultrasound as an aid in diagnosis and as a guide for non-surgical treatment. It is also used in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, tennis elbow, other tendon problems and plantar fasciitis. Dr. Joseph is an expert in Tenex, a groundbreaking treatment for the relief of tendon and soft tissue related pain. This treatment enables him to treat patients earlier in the pain process and with quicker recovery than with other alternatives such as traditional open surgery. For additional information regarding Tenex Health Tx Essentials visit their website at Tenex Health. In addition, Dr. Joseph also specializes in Manos CTR a minimal invasive Carpal Tunnel Release System. Information regarding this latest advancement in carpal tunnel release technology can be found at the Manos CTR website. Dr. Joseph is part of OrthoIdaho, conveniently located at 2240 E Center St, Pocatello, ID 83201 Call for an appointment today at 208-233-2100.