Sitting at your desk, you try to stop thinking about the numbness or tingling that is happening in your wrist and hand. This feeling may have been happening for a few months. All of a sudden, an intense pain radiates up your wrist through to your arm. Though you may think it is just another cramp, you may be surprised to know that this is the symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an uncomfortable, gradually developed condition that is caused by compressed key nerves in the wrist.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Explained
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause tingling, numbness, weakness and a variety of other issues in your hand due to pressure on the wrist’s median nerve. The median nerve and other tendons travel from the forearm to the hand via a tiny space in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. The median nerve is responsible for feeling and movement in all fingers except the little finger.
Pressure is typically associated with any issue that causes the carpal tunnel to become smaller, such as swelling. Repetitive wrist gestures or hand movements often cause swelling, particularly if the wrist is bent in a downward angle. Other reasons for swelling include illnesses such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism.
Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Pain & Numbness – Pain and numbness can be felt in all fingers (except the little finger). The pain can radiate all the way up the foreman into the shoulder.
- Pins & Needles – Tingling, numbness and burning sensations can occur in all fingers (except the little finger). It is common for the middle and index fingers to be affected first.
Who Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Effect?
Due to the smaller size of women’s carpal tunnel, women are three times more susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome than men. It is common for the dominant hand to be primarily affected and experience more intense pain. Individuals with metabolic disorders such as diabetes are more vulnerable to carpal tunnel syndrome as well. Carpal tunnel syndrome is highly unlikely in children.
Any adult can potentially develop carpal tunnel syndrome, regardless of their industry. However, it is often found in assembly line workers due to their repetitive wrist activities. It is three times more likely to occur amongst assembly line workers than other types of personnel.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis & Treatment
Avoiding chronic carpal tunnel syndrome is possible with early diagnosis and treatment. It is common for doctors to perform a physical examination in order to determine if patient’s symptoms are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Physical examination also can also find if the pain is related to their regular activities or a more serious issue.
Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment should take place immediately, under doctor’s guidance. If there are underlying issues such as arthritis or diabetes, then these issues need to be treated prior to carpal tunnel syndrome treatment. Common treatments include drugs, exercise, alternative therapy and refraining from wrist movement. Chiropractic care is beneficial to carpal tunnel syndrome patients. Yoga has also been found to help alleviate pain and enhance strength.