Carpal Tunnel: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Carpal Tunnel is a syndrome that is caused by pressure in the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments located on the palm side of your hand. When there is pressure on the median nerve, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the hand and arm. Normally, proper treatment and care can relieve the numbness and tingling and restore function to the wrist and hand.
What Are The Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include burning, tingling and numbness in the palm and thumb or index and middle fingers. Some people experience hand weakness and even tingling that moves up the arm. The symptoms often occur while holding an item like a phone, glass or steering wheel. As the symptoms increase, some people experience an electric shock sensation through the thumb and fingers. These symptoms can impact daily life, activities and sleep. Permanent nerve damage can occur without proper treatment.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve runs from the forearm through the carpal tunnel to the hand. The median nerve controls the movement and feeling in your thumb and the movement of all the fingers except the pinky finger. There is no single cause for carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of the most common causes include repetitive motions like typing, conditions like arthritis and diabetes, and even pregnancy. The risk may increase for getting carpal tunnel syndrome if your wrist has been fractured or broken or if you have a job that involves repetitive motions. In addition, women are three times more likely than men to get it and odds also increase for those people who have family members with small carpal tunnels.
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is diagnosed using a variety of tests including the Tinel sign test, imaging tests (X-rays, MRI, Ultrasounds), electromyogram, and nerve conduction studies. The treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Treatments can include lifestyle changes, exercises, immobilization, medication, and surgery. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and do not treat it, the symptoms can last longer and worsen. It is easier to diagnosis and treat carpal tunnel in the early stages. It is important to see a doctor if the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome persist and interfere with normal activities.