Living With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You may decide against having surgery for your carpal tunnel syndrome. If so, here are some things that may help relieve your symptoms.
- Prop up your arm with pillows when you lie down.
- Avoid overusing the affected hand.
- Find a new way to use your hand by using a different tool.
- Try to use the unaffected hand more often.
- Avoid holding your wrists in a downward bent position for long periods of time.
What Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Feels Like
Most people want to know what carpal tunnel syndrome feels like so they can recognize if they have it or not. Actually, it causes very specific feelings or “” that are easy to spot.
Symptoms are usually confined to the hand or fingers. Sometimes these sensations can spread from the hand to the forearm. They include:
The illustration below shows where these sensations occur. Most times, these sensations are more intense in the thumb and first finger. The little finger is never involved.
In the beginning, carpal tunnel sensations only appear when you’re trying to sleep. You feel the need to wake up and shake out the numbness. Some people have to hang their hand off the bed to get relief.
As the condition progresses, these symptoms last into the daytime. Pain can shoot up the arm, especially when gripping something like a soda can.Driving a caror holding a phone to your ear can make yourhand go numb.Patients often find it difficult to open jars, pick up coins, tie a shoelace or button a shirt.
In time, the condition progresses further – and the symptoms becomeYou begin to loose sensitivity to hot or cold in your fingertips. The hand becomes increasinglyDaytime becomes crushing and excruciating. The numbness can be so intense that most people say,”I feel like cutting my hand off!”
You can perform a quick and simple self-test to determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome by
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Can Cause Pain In Your Entire Arm But Not Without The Help Of Another Neurological Disorder
To relieve the whole arm pain, you must have both conditions treated.
In order for carpal tunnel syndrome to lead to pain in the entire arm, a second condition involving the nerves must be present.
A condition or phenomenon, called double crush, exists where the nerves can be irritated or impinged in two separate locations, says John-Paul H. Rue, MD, orthopedic sports medicine surgeon with Orthopedics and Joint Replacement at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.
A common example of this may be seen when someone may have cervical radiculopathy, and the nerves exiting the spinal canal in the neck may be pinched or irritated by a herniated disc or other cause within the cervical spine.
How Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Occur
Movement of the same hand can cause carpal tunnel syndrome over and over. It is most common in individuals whose jobs involve tightening or clutching the wrist. People who are always at computers, carpenters, food inspectors, assembly staff, meat-packers, musicians and mechanics are at high risk and often need carpal tunnel surgery for treatment. Symptoms can sometimes be associated with hobbies like gardening, needlework, golfing and canoeing.
The carpal tunnel syndrome of women is more likely than of men. It’s also usually inherited. It works in families, that means.
A wrist damage, such as a fracture, may also lead to a carpal tunnel syndrome. Or a disease such as diabetes, RA, or thyroid disease can cause it. During the last few months of pregnancy, carpal tunnel syndrome is also frequent.
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.
What Are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Medications And Treatment
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not primarily an inflammatory process. However, pain is a common complaint, and anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes used to try to treat the pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as may provide some relief but are unlikely to cure carpal tunnel syndrome.
Direct injection of steroid medication by your doctor into the carpal canal has been shown to be an effective treatment for some people with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a procedure that can be done in the doctor’s office with only minimal discomfort.
Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Other conditions, including different types of nerve compression, can look like carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these are:
- Arthritis.Arthritis of the wrist can cause many of the same symptoms. One key is that arthritis may cause visible swelling and redness.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome. Also called ulnar tunnel syndrome, this condition is due to compression, or squeezing, of the ulnar nerve in the elbow. Symptoms are more likely to affect the pinkie, ring finger, and inside of the hand.
- Pronator syndrome.Pronator syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve in the arm is compressed. Pain is typically felt in the arm but can extend to the palm, making it difficult to make the OK sign.
- Radial tunnel syndrome.Radial tunnel syndrome is due to compression of the radial nerve, which runs from the neck through the arm. It rarely causes the numbness or tingling of carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain is more likely to occur in the forearm or back of the hand.
- Tendonitis.Tendonitis of the wrist is due to inflammation of the tendons. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis may cause swelling, and the pain tends to improve with rest.
Causes & Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel
A narrow passageway on your handle’s side is the carpal tunnel composed of bones and ligaments. This passageway passes alongside the tendons to your fingers and the thumb through the middle nerve that controls sensation and motion in your thumb or first three fingers. The effect of engulfment, tingling, weakness, or pain in the hand when punched and compressed are called carpal tunnel syndrome. It is important to go for a carpal tunnel surgery for both hands If you face any of these syndromes.
What Is Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm. This condition develops when a nerve is compressed in the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway leading to your wrist . This nerve is called the median nerve.
Some people seem to have a higher risk of carpal tunnel, possibly due to the anatomy of the wrist. When you perform repetitive tasks using one hand or wrist, this can put excess pressure on the median nerve. This creates pressure causing symptoms like tingling and numbness in the hand and arm. The pain can travel up the forearm, even to the shoulder and elsewhere.
Causes of carpal tunnel include:
- Repetitive motions especially if your hands are lower than your wrist.
- Conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypothyroidism, obesity, and rheumatoid arthritis
In fact, there is is no single cause. A combination of factors likely leads to developing this condition.
Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist fracture, for example, can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve. The inflammation and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute.
One thing is certain, women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Researchers believe this is because the carpal tunnel area is smaller in women than it is in men. And some women have smaller carpal tunnels than others do.
What Does That Mean
Radiculopathy refers to the radiating of pain out from its original source, even though there may not be any pain at the source location.
In other words, if you have a herniated disc in the neck, you will not necessarily have neck pain.
A herniated disc is actually a bulging disc. The bulging presses on nerves.
This may make the nerves more excitable or irritable, and more sensitive to damage elsewhere, such as at the wrist in the carpal tunnel, says Dr. Rue.
In this case, it is often necessary to treat both sites of involvement in order to get full relief from the nerve symptoms.
This is fairly common, requiring careful review of your history of symptoms, detailed physical examination, and to differentiate the problem.
Dr. Rue specializes in prevention and treatment of sports and exercise injuries. His primary focuses are knee, shoulder and elbow injuries including ACL and cartilage injuries, rotator cuff injuries and overuse tendonitis.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
All carpal tunnel symptoms have one thing in common. They happen because oftendon inflammationinside your wrist joint.
The inflammation occurs becauseform between tendons. The adhesions irritate thetendon sheathsor covers, causing moment restrictions. As a result, the body fills the irritated area with fluid to act as a cushion, much like a blister.
However, as fluid builds up it squeezes the adjacentmedian nerve. This is one of the major nerves of the hand. As the median nerve is squeezed and compressed more and more, the feelings of pain, numbness, and tingling begin.
What Are The Potential Causes Of Cts
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that CTS may be caused by wrist injuries, overactive pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, and arthritis. They also claim that repeated flexing or bending of the wrist, pregnancy, and menopause could contribute to CTS.
The report of repeated flexing and bending of the wrist being a contributing factor in CTS has led many to speculate about a positive association between CTS and certain occupations.
Arthritis Research UK has claimed that occupations involving typing, repetitive wrist movements and usage of vibrating tools may lead to an onset of CTS.
The Mayo Clinic has also claimed that the usage of vibrating tools or other occupations that require prolonged and repetitive flexing of the wrist may contribute to the development of CTS.
These claims concerning occupation and CTS make sense. There are many occupations that do require the same wrist and finger motion on a day-to-day basis. A number of the same people who occupy these positions have been known to experience CTS.
However, a positive association between CTS and specific occupations is anything but certain.
In reading a number of pamphlets and studies concerning CTS there seems to be an assumed belief about occupations that involve repetitive wrist and finger movements must contribute in some way to the development of CTS. Yet, data supporting this notion has proven to be elusive.
How Does One Break The Carpal Tunnel Cycle Of Trapped Inflammation
Interestingly, the key to breaking the cycle of this chronic syndrome is quite simple. It just takes gentle consistent stretching applied for 8 hours each night for two weeks and 8 hours every other night for four weeks for most people. This amounts to over 220 hours of gentle consistent targeted stretching in just 6 weeks.
Most people think, Seriously, you expect me to believe that a little stretching of my hand around the Carpal Tunnel is going to cure this chronic syndrome that is causing me so much stress? Seems to good to be true. And you know the old adage: If is seems to good to be true that it is too good to be true.
Natural healing often defies logic. The body possess incredible ability to heal itself if we unblock the pathways to healing.
Consistently doing small things right is one of the great precursors to success in any endeavor.
Consistency In Action: Is It The Hidden Driver For Success
It is the same with breaking this chronic carpal tunnel cycle. Applying targeted passive stretching consistently over 6 weeks yields somewhat incredible results. But when one stops and thinks about it Recognizing the bodys remarkable ability to heal itself, it is really not that surprising.
The good news is you do not have to take any risks or spend 220 hours in 6 weeks performing stretching exercises. This would be daunting.
When it comes back you simply repeat the Six Week Treatment Program and put Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in remission again for years.
When To See A Doctor For Carpal Tunnel
When you cant sleep because of the pain in your hand, wrist or forearm, it is time to see a specialist. You need to find out the cause, whether it is carpal tunnel or another medical problem.
If your symptoms occur occasionally, they might not be related to carpal tunnel. Most people have had a hand that falls asleep, for example. However, when it happens often, you should talk to your doctor.
If you do have carpal tunnel syndrome and don’t get treatment, the symptoms can get worse. In some cases, they may disappear for a while, then return.
Bottom line is with early diagnosis, the treatment is easier. With proper treatment, the tingling, numbness and other symptoms can resolve. You can regain your wrist and hand function.
Top 10 Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is extreme pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve is the nerve in your wrist that allows for movement and feeling. When there is pressure on this nerve it causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to the National Institutes of Health, annual spending for medical care for carpal tunnel syndrome is in excess of $2 billion. CTS is one of the most common upper extremity defects, afflicting between 1 and 5% of the American population.
Much about CTS is not clearly understood even though it seems to affect many individuals.
Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Be Prevented Or Avoided
You can take steps to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. The following actions may help to prevent it:
- Lose weight if youre overweight.
- Get treatment for any disease you have that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
- If you do the same tasks over and over with your hands, try not to bend, extend, or twist your hands for long periods of time.
- Dont work with your arms too close or too far from your body.
- Dont rest your wrists on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
- Switch hands during work tasks.
- Make sure the tools you use arent too big for your hands.
- Take regular breaks from repeated hand movements to give your hands and wrists time to rest.
- If you use a keyboard a lot, adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your keyboard, and you dont have to flex your wrists to type.
Many products you can buy, such as wrist rests for a computer keyboard, are supposed to ease symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. No one has proven that these products really prevent wrist problems. Some people may have less pain and numbness after using these products, but other people may have increased pain and numbness.
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 worker’s wrist is in a natural position during work. Supervisors should also make sure that jobs are rotated among workers whenever possible.
How Do You Test For Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Proper diagnosis of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome requires expert analysis and evaluation. There are different tests for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, however no single test is considered 100% accurate. Here are the most common tests for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome:
Tinels Sign The Tinels Sign involves lightly tapping of the Tarsal Tunnel with a small percussion hammer. If you get tingling or pins and needles going down into your toes, this is considered a positive Tinels Sign, and is frequently seen with Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
X-Rays are frequently taken to rule out a fracture.
Imaging Studies such as Ultrasound or MRI can be used to see if there is a soft tissue mass or cyst pressing on the nerve.
Nerve Conduction Studies measures the speed of the nerves from your lower back down to your feet. If the nerve speed is reduced when passing through the Tarsal Tunnel, this often means you have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. It is definitely possible to have a positive Nerve Conduction Study and not have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
Basics Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the fingers and thumb. Specifically, carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve located in the wrist. This nerve supplies feeling to the thumb, index, middle and ring finger. The carpal tunnel is a well defined space in the palm at the wrist. The two walls of this anatomical tunnel are formed by bones that support the wrist. The roof of the tunnel is the thick transverse carpal ligament. Several tendons and the median nerve pass through this tunnel. Space in the tunnel decreases when tendons swell or the ligament thickens. Pressure inside the tunnel increases and restricts blood flow to the nerve. The pressure is most noticeable when the wrist is fully extended or flexed.
There Are Seven Conditions That Mimic The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
First up is pronator teres syndrome. Whereas carpal tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve at the wrist, begins Jonathan Oheb, MD, North Valley Orthopedic Institute, Chief of Orthopedic Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, pronator syndrome is median nerve compression at the elbow.
The pronator teres muscle starts at the upper arm bone near the elbow and attaches to both lower arm bones.
PTS is similar to CTS in that it can cause pain, numbness, tingling and burning in ones thumb, index and middle finger, and half the ring finger, says Dr. Oheb.
But CTS will not cause pain in the forearm. And PTS can cause loss of sensation to your palm, because a branch of the median nerve comes off before the carpal tunnel, says Dr. Oheb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be mistaken for PTS. This happened to my mother.
The neurologist who was setting her up for an EMG actually told her he thought she had pronator syndrome.
After he was finished with the EMG study, he said, Its carpal tunnel.
What other conditions can mimic the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Dr. Oheb says, Cervical disc disease or cervical spinal stenosis .
When my mother was in the ER , the ER physician was pretty convinced she had a pinched nerve in her neck that was causing her hand pain and finger numbness.
He concluded this based on asking her questions about her symptoms and then viewing an image of her neck that he said showed cervical spinal stenosis .
What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like In Your Hand
in your fingers and thumb may come and go at first. As the condition worsens, it becomes harder to ignore. Sensations in the hand may include:
- feeling like your fingers are swollen, even though theyre not
Symptoms typically show up only on the side of the ring finger closest to the middle finger, but symptoms can also affect other fingers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
If your CTS is getting worse and other treatments have not worked, the GP might refer you to a specialist to discuss surgery.
Surgery usually cures CTS. You and your specialist will decide together if it’s the right treatment for you.
An injection numbs your wrist so you do not feel pain and a small cut is made in your hand. The carpal tunnel inside your wrist is cut so it no longer puts pressure on the nerve.
The operation takes around 20 minutes and you do not have to stay in hospital overnight.
It can take a month after the operation to get back to normal activities.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Cts And What Activities Make Them Worse
While symptoms of CTS vary from person-to-person, physicians have determined a set of symptoms that are generally typical for most patients with CTS. recommends looking for pain, numbness, and/or tingling sensations in the thumb, index and middle fingers.
Other symptoms include a weakening of the muscle in control of the thumb and an absence of pain in the back of the hand and the palm of the hand.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has determined that there are 2 actions that tend to make these symptoms worse. They are driving and holding a telephone up to their ear. When these occur together then they should heighten ones suspicion of CTS being present.
A Complete Insight On Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The syndrome of the carpal tunnel is a painful hand-and-wrist disorder. The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel made up of your wrist’s bones and other tissues. This tunnel shields your median nerve. The median nerve helps to move the first three fingers and thumbs on both hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the swelling or inflammation of other tissues in the carpal tunnel . They push the median nerve when they do. This pressure can hurt or feel numb in your hand.
Usually carpal tunnel syndrome is not severe. Usually pain will go away with carpal tunnel treatment and your hand or wrist will not be damaged lastingly.
When To See A Doctor
Consider making an appointment to see a primary care physician if you have numbness, weakness, or pain of the hand, wrist, or arm that interferes with normal activities or keeps you awake at night.
Early diagnosis and treatment can slow or stop conditions from worsening. A doctor can recommend and home remedies to care for your condition. A doctor can also help you treat it before you develop permanent nerve or muscle damage.
What If These Treatments Dont Help
In some cases, surgery is needed to make the symptoms go away completely. The surgery involves cutting the ligament that may be pressing on your median nerve. Youll usually get back the normal use of your wrist and hand within a few weeks to a few months after surgery.
Doing the hand, wrist, and finger exercises that your doctor tells you to do after surgery is very important. Without exercise, your wrist may get stiff, and you may lose some use of your hand.
Traditional Treatments For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
More serious cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may require your doctors help.
Your doctor may recommend corticosteroids to lessen your pain and inflammation. These drugs reduce the amount of swelling and pressure placed on the median nerve. Injections are more effective than oral steroids. This therapy may be particularly effective if your CTS is caused by inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. This typically involves making one or two incisions in the area affected and cutting the ligament involved. This will release the nerve and increase the space around the nerve.
The ligament will eventually grow back, allowing more space for your nerve than there was before. If your CTS is severe, surgery may not clear up your symptoms completely, but it should help you feel better and help prevent any further damage to the nerve.