If you are in the beginning stages of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you will notice a bit of tingling, numbness, and pain in the arm and hand. Over time, symptoms progress and become a chronic pain disorder that causes severe aching in your hand and arm because of nerve compression in the carpal tunnel. Even though ten million Americans suffer from carpal tunnel, it is considered among all the nerve disorders as one of the easiest conditions a chronic pain doctor can treat.
Anatomy Of The Carpal Tunnel
Your hand and wrist contain four primary parts that affect the regular function of the hand and carpal tunnel: the median nerve, transverse carpal ligament, synovium, and flexor tendons. The carpal tunnel is a thin passage in the hand that is located above the wrist bone and beneath the transverse carpal ligament. The path of the median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel and is responsible for the sensations that you feel between the thumb and the first three fingers. As flexor tendons also run through the carpal tunnel, they easily press on the median nerve causing inflammation because of irritation which is why you feel numbing, tingling, and extreme pain.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Symptoms are not sudden, so it is difficult to tell the difference at the beginning that you have carpal tunnel syndrome since they occur gradually. The symptoms will get worse as they will become more constant, frequent, and severe which a chronic pain doctor will help you with.
- Lack of regular movement in the wrist and hand
- Weakness (Difficult to hold items with a closed hand)
- Pain (Moving up the arm, when holding items, and when asleep)
- Stabbing sensations in the hand, thumb, and first three fingers
- Pain radiating from the shoulder and arm areas
Carpal Tunnel Causes
- A joint malfunction in the wrist can lead to weakening.
- Hormone changes (higher rate in women because of smaller hand structure)
- Injuries like fractures, breaks, or irritation can cause swelling or inflammation.
- Heredity affects the shape of the carpal tunnel as it is smaller than normal.
- Arthritis is a contributor to carpal tunnel because of swelling and soreness.
- Long-term deterioration because of work conditions commonly causes symptoms.
- Poor posture positioning of the arms and hands applies pressure to the nerves.
- Short-term carpal tunnel is possible during pregnancy but subsides after birth.
- Diabetes can cause your arm and hand nerves to compress and swell.
- Autoimmune diseases often cause inflammation and can affect the carpal tunnel.
Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpal tunnel was the primary reason why workers missed work as well as led to permanent disabilities in welders, housekeepers, highway maintenance, laborers, kitchen staff, electricians, construction, painters, movers, and mechanics.
Carpal Tunnel Treatment
If your symptoms are light, try rubbing or moving your hands until the pain or numbness subsides. If your symptoms persist, call us to make an appointment at the Maryland Pain & Wellness Center to have an assessment and electrodiagnostic test. You may require treatment like a splint, physiotherapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, chronic pain medications, a corticosteroid or anesthetic to reduce inflammation and swelling, and surgery.