Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cause Pain In The Armpit
June 19, 2010 by Kathryn Merrow
Can your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome cause pain in your armpit?; Heres a switch; I mean really a switch.;
Your wrist and hand symptoms can be caused by the muscles under your arm.; Under your armpit you have muscles that attach from ribs to arm and shoulder.; You have muscles in your chest that also attach to your arm.
When these muscles get tight, they can traction down on the nerves that pass through your arm to your hand.; The nerves hate being pressed on and so they cause discomfort in your hand.
Although short muscles dont usually complain, the ones under your armpit can be
uncomfortable when they are in a knot or spasm.
The muscles on the side of your back, just behind your armpit, can also be involved .; Those muscles can also have pain when they are in spasm or contraction.
So, you see, this is NOT a case of which comes firstthe chicken or the egg.;
Even if you were not aware of the armpit pain before your hand pain started, the spasm was most likely already there.; It is just becoming tighter with time.
It is very likely that our carpal tunnel pain is a result of that tightness in the muscles under your armpit.
The good news is that you can press into those armpit muscles by yourself.; It will be uncomfortable because they are tight.; Just keep pressing and feeling and assessing the tightness in those muscles.; By pressing into those muscles with your fingers, it mechanically relaxes them.
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How Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic tests for cubital tunnel syndrome may include:
- Nerve conduction test. This test measures how fast signals travel down a nerve to find a compression or constriction of the nerve.
- Electromyogram . This test checks nerve and muscle function and may be used to test the forearm muscles controlled by the ulnar nerve. If the muscles don’t work the way they should, it may be a sign that there is a problem with the ulnar nerve.
- X-ray. This is done to look at the bones of the elbow and see if you have arthritis or bone spurs in your elbow.
Who Is At Risk For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome are those who do activities or jobs that involve repetitive finger use. Motions that can place people at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- High-force .
- Extreme wrist motions.
Many other factors can also contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. These factors can include:
- Heredity .
- Amyloid deposits .
Carpal tunnel syndrome is also more common in women than in men.
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The Carpal Solution Is Self
There is an old adage that gentle pressure consistently applied is the key to solving most problems in life. This describes the power behind Carpal Solution Therapy. Over the Six Week Protocol The Carpal Solution puts Carpal Tunnel Syndrome into remission naturally and non-invasively without the risky outcomes and long rehabs associated with surgery, the complications of oral pain medication or the downside of steroid injections or the risk of muscle atrophy so common with conventional rigid hand braces and restrictive splints.
Carpal Solution combines gentle soft tissue stretching and reshaping at night during sleep with active use during the day. This results in an ideal rhythmic therapy for rapid relief from Carpal Tunnel symptoms with no muscle atrophy or down time and no limitations from restrictive braces. The hand rehabilitates through normal use once pain is relieved and free movement is restored. It is well know among muscular skeletal specialists that muscle atrophy from rigid wrist braces and hand splints can severely complicate recovery from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Be that as it may, however, if you suspect that you do have some form of RSI, not only should you discuss your hand condition with a qualified medical professional, but you should also look into ergonomic workstation improvements and posture and day time stretching. A better ergonomic keyboard set-up, for instance, can complement the Carpal Solution in reducing minimizing flare-ups.
Acute Vs Chronic Finger Numbness
Another key factor for diagnosing the underlying problem of finger numbness is the duration of the numbness. Acute or sudden on and off numbness may be due to a transient injury. Again, leaning on your “funny bone” is a good example.
Another example of temporary finger numbness may be when it occurs while working. Typing on a keyboard or swinging a hammer may cause finger numbness. But if it disappears with rest, then it’s a transient problem directly related toyour occupation.It means the work itself is causing the nerve injury because of how you use your hand.
Chronic finger numbness can be more serious. It means the nerve is sufficiently damaged that simple rest won’t help. It could also be a sign that a more serious condition is lurking which causes finger numbness.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Having Carpal Tunnel Surgery
There are numerous side effects of Carpal Tunnel Surgery.; The most common include :
- Nerve damage
- Instability in the wrist bones due to cutting a critical ligament.; This, in turn, can lead to additional injuries and arthritis
- Failure of the procedure to relieve symptoms
- Pain at the surgical site scar
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome .; A very painful and difficult condition to manage where the pain is out of proportion and can be accompanied by changes in skin color and temperature
When To Talk To Your Doctor
Usually, numbness and tingling experienced during the night happens infrequently and goes away fairly quickly. However, if numbness in your arms and hands is persistent or causing poor quality sleep, it might be time to see your doctor.; If youre experiencing any of the following, you may want to consider making a doctors appointment:
- Numbness that lasts into the day
- Numbness across the body, not just in your hands
- Muscle weakness
- Clumsiness in your hands or fingers
- Sudden weakness or dizziness
- Pain in arms and legs that wont go away
Your doctor should be able to assess your symptoms and help you determine the next steps.
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Swollen Fingers Caused By Hormones
Hormonal changes, especially during menstruation and pregnancy, can cause symptoms such as bloating, swelling, mood changes, and more. These symptoms often occur due to a shift in hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
Swelling of the hands and fingers is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome , and often appears during pregnancy, as well. Other symptoms of PMS may include:
- abdominal bloating and pain
- weight gain
- abdominal pain
Early treatment for preeclampsia is crucial in ensuring a safe pregnancy and delivery. Treatment may include medications, frequent monitoring, or in some cases, early delivery.
Chronic Cold Hands: Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm, including cold hands.;
Cold hands are a common symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome along with pain in the shoulder, pain in the forearm and even in your neck. The most notable reason for chronic cold hands with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are caused by pinched nerves that restrict blood circulation which interferes with the healing process and most time leaving your hands cold regardless of the weather.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist.; Two reasons for this condition is injured soft tissue and the other is inflammation that traps parts of the hand and wrist creating prtessure on the blood flow and causing numbing, tingling and cold hands.
Some of the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Repetitive Motions, like typing, or any motions of the wrist that your do over and over.; This typically occurs when your hands are lower than your wrists.
- Medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and obesity are common conditions that can be associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis And Tests
Your doctor may tap the palm side of your wrist, a test called Tinel sign, or fully flex your wrist with your arms extended. They might also do tests including:
- Imaging tests. X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI exams can let your doctor look at your bones and tissues.
- Electromyogram. Your doctor puts a thin electrode into a muscle to measure its electrical activity.
- Nerve conduction studies. Your doctor tapes electrodes to your skin to measure the signals in the nerves of your hand and arm.
What Increases Your Risk
Things that put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Health problems or illnesses that can cause arm pain or swelling in the joints and soft tissues in the arm, or reduce the blood flow to the hands. These include obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis.
- Being female. Women between the ages of 40 and 60 have the highest risk. Pregnant women near the end of their pregnancies often have short-term symptoms. Women taking birth control pills, going through menopause, or taking estrogen are also thought to be at risk.
- Hand and wrist movements and activities that require repeated motions, especially in awkward positions.
- Smoking. It may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome by affecting the blood flow to the median nerve.
- Broken wrist bones, dislocated bones, new bone growth from healing bones, or bone spurs. These can take up space in the carpal tunnel and put more pressure on the median nerve.
- Tumours and other growths . These uncommon causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are usually benign.
- Normal wear and tear of the tissues in the hand and wrist caused by aging.
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Treatment Options For Hand Numbness
The specific treatment depends on the type of condition, so no one treatment option will work for everyone. However, in the case of a pinched nerve or arthritis treatment is generally fairly simple. Typically it involves a combination of cold and heat therapy. On top of this, rest, light exercise, and physical therapy can also be helpful.
Unfortunately, entrapped nerves, like those involved with carpal tunnel, require a more advanced release procedure. In most cases, a ligament must be removed to create the needed space for the nerve.
Traditional methods typically involve making an invasive incision near the carpal tunnel. However, a large incision can be bypassed with a more advanced no-stitch option. This method of treatment uses minimally invasive incisions to insert a small endoscopic camera into your hand.
This method is ideal because it bypasses the upper layers of ligaments and gets right to the deeper ones causing pressure. Its quick, provides fast recovery, and leaves behind no stitches.
Treatment Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Your health care provider will figure out the best;treatment for you;based on:
Your overall health and medical history
How bad your wrist is right now
How well you tolerate specific medications, procedures, or therapies
How bad the disease is expected to get
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
Splinting your hand.;This;helps keep your;wrist from moving. It also eases the;compression of the nerves inside the tunnel.
Anti-inflammatory medication.;These may be oral or injected into the carpal tunnel space. These;reduce the swelling.
Surgery.;This eases compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel.
Worksite changes.;Changing position of your computer keyboard or making other ergonomic changes can help ease symptoms.
Exercise.;Stretching and strengthening exercises can be helpful in people whose symptoms have gotten better. These exercises may be supervised by a physical or occupational therapist.
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Injuries To The Wrist
It is possible for the median nerve to become compressed due to changes in the structure of the bones and muscles in the wrist that result from injuries. People who play a lot of sports are particularly at risk of hand and wrist injuries that can result in CTS. In injury-related CTS, ensuring that the injury heals properly and that the median nerve ceases to be entrapped will alleviate the condition.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Carpal Tunnel Surgery is an outpatient surgery where the transverse ligament is cut.; This ligament compromises the roof of the carpal tunnel which is intended to release the pressure and irritation of the median nerve. There are many different techniques with open surgery and endoscopic surgery being the most common.
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Common Causes Of Compression
There are several things that can cause pressure on the nerve at the elbow:
- When your bend your elbow, the ulnar nerve must stretch around the boney ridge of the medial epicondyle. Because this stretching can irritate the nerve, keeping your elbow bent for long periods or repeatedly bending your elbow can cause painful symptoms. For example, many people sleep with their elbows bent, which can aggravate symptoms of ulnar nerve compression and cause you to wake up at night with your fingers asleep.
- In some people, the nerve slides out from behind the medial epicondyle when the elbow is bent. Over time, this sliding back and forth may irritate the nerve.
- Leaning on your elbow for long periods of time can put pressure on the nerve.
- Fluid buildup in the elbow can cause swelling that may compress the nerve.
- A direct blow to the inside of the elbow can cause pain, electric shock sensation, and numbness in the little and ring fingers. This is commonly called “hitting your funny bone.”
How Is It Treated
Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care. You can:
- Stop activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist longer between activities.
- Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour.
- Try taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Wear a wrist splint at night. This takes pressure off your median nerve.
The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.
You also may need medicine for carpal tunnel syndrome or for a health problem that made you likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery is an option. But it’s usually used only when symptoms are so bad that you can’t work or do other things even after several weeks to months of other treatment.
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When Is Surgery Necessary For Relieving Carpal Tunnel Pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition that affects the hand and fingers. Its caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist, and symptoms often include pain, numbness, and loss of grip strength.
Anyone can develop carpal tunnel, but your gender, occupation, and some health conditions can increase your risk. Women are more likely to suffer carpal tunnel syndrome, as are people of both genders who have jobs that require typing or other repetitive wrist motions. Vibratory tools are especially linked to carpal tunnel syndrome causation.;
There are a number of non-invasive treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome, but the condition doesnt go away on its own and instead gets worse without treatment. If your carpal tunnel pain is severe and limits your daily life, surgery might be your best option.
For the best in orthopedic care and carpal tunnel surgery, turn to the team at Upper Extremity Specialists, a member of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group. Kristopher Downing, MD, Daniel Brereton, DO, and our staff serve patients in Chula Vista and La Jolla, California, and we can help you find the right treatment to relieve your carpal tunnel pain.
Prevention Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
To help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you can minimize stress on your hands and wrists. A few tips:
- Relax your grip whenever possible. If your job involves a keyboard or a cash register, hit the keys as softly as possible. If you write for lengthy periods, use a big pen with a soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
- Take frequent breaks. Stretch and bend your hands and wrists periodically. Do something different for a while, especially if youre using equipment that vibrates.
- Protect your wrist. Dont bend your wrist all the way up or down. Keep your wrist in a relaxed middle position. Your keyboard should be at elbow height or slightly lower.
- Improve your posture. If you sit incorrectly, your shoulders can roll forward. This shortens your neck and shoulder muscles and compresses the nerves in your neck. All this pressure will affect your wrists, fingers, and hands.
- Change your computer mouse. Dont strain your wrist while working with your mouse; make sure its in a comfortable position.
- Keep your hands warm. If you work in a warm environment, youre less likely to develop hand pain and stiffness. Fingerless gloves will keep your hands and wrists warm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome at work is a serious matter. In some settings, it may be necessary to redesign workstations to ensure that the workers wrist is in a natural position during work. Supervisors should also make sure that jobs are rotated among workers whenever possible.
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Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Only Happen To Office Workers Or Factory Workers
No. Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome have never done office work or worked on an assembly line. It affects people who use their wrists and hands repeatedly at work and at play. Anyone can get carpel tunnel syndrome, but it is unusual before age 20. The chance of getting carpal tunnel syndrome increases with age.