Noticing The Signs Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Shooting pains and tingling in one or both wrists are often signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that affects up to 10 million Americans. Caused by compression of the nerve that passes down your arm into your hand, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can go from occasionally bothersome to perpetually debilitating over time. Thankfully, CTS is usually very treatable.
Our expert team at Northland Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri, has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Read on to learn more about the signs of CTS and what to do once you notice them.
Warning Signs Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition affecting the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which is responsible for sending signals of sensations and muscle movement in your hand, becomes compressed and inflamed. When this happens, you may find it challenging to use and move your hand as you normally would. It is always best to diagnose and address this condition early on before it gets worse. Below are some warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome that you should look out for.
Aids To Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome typically starts slowly and develops gradually. Over time, however, it can become very painful. For this reason, it is crucial to seek medical attention if you notice any changes in your hand function.
Here are some remedies for carpal tunnel relief:
Reduce repetitive motions: Whether youre building, operating machinery, or performing another repetitive task, try to reduce the number of hours you spend doing so. If you are unable to reduce the amount, take frequent breaks from the activity. When you stop what youre doing, lower your arms until theyre perpendicular to the floor. This will allow blood to flow back into your hands and relieve the stress on your nerves.
Wear wrist braces: Wrist braces have been shown to provide temporary relief for carpal tunnel syndrome. They can be worn when you need to keep your hands elevated. You can wear them while sleeping as well. Wearing a wrist splint can help prevent symptoms from occurring.
Wrist exercises: Nerve gliding exercises for your wrists can help improve circulation and relieve pain. These exercises should be performed regularly to maintain strength and flexibility. You should avoid activities that cause your wrist to flex more than normal.
Physical and occupational therapy: Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen weak muscles and improve circulation. They may also suggest occupational therapy to teach you how to perform activities without causing pain.
Recommended Reading: Pineapple Cause Gas
Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Have A Long Recovery
Surgery to repair carpal tunnel syndrome does not have a particularly long recovery. The bandage that covers the stitches after surgery can be removed in a few days. The hand can then be used for light activities. Making a fist is encouraged. Full range of finger motion and early symptom relief is usually seen within two weeks after the stitches have been removed. You can usually return to most activities by six weeks. Your return to work depends on factors such as type of work, how much control you have over your work and workplace equipment.
What Happens If You Dont Seek Treatment For Cts
Generally speaking, over-the-counter pain relievers, coupled with CTS exercises, can go a long way toward easing your symptoms and may even reverse the condition. The same applies to surgery and cortisone injections. However, if you dont seek treatment, things can quickly go from bad to worse. According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, CTS can result in weakness and a loss of coordination in your fingers and thumb if left untreated, both of which can become permanent.
Don’t Miss: Fake A Broken Arm
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis And Treatment In Florida
Early detection of carpal tunnel syndrome results in optimal treatment and better recovery. If you notice early signs of the condition developing, seek immediate medical attention. Intercoastal Medical Group is ready to assist you. Our group of well-trained and board-certified orthopedic specialists provides high-quality medical care to all our patients.
We have ten clinics across Sarasota and Manatee County for your convenience. You can also conveniently arrange a visit with us using our secure online form. Let us help you get the comprehensive care you deserve!
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Contact your provider for an appointment if:
- You have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Your symptoms do not respond to regular treatment, such as rest and anti-inflammatory drugs, or if there seems to be a loss of muscle bulk around your fingers
- Your fingers lose more and more feeling
- You are dropping things and becoming more clumsy with your hand
Recommended Reading: Lidocaine Pain Patch Narcotic
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. People with diabetes or other metabolic disorders that directly affect the bodys nerves and make them more susceptible to compression are also at high risk. CTS usually occurs only in adults.
Workplace factors may contribute to existing pressure on or damage to the median nerve. The risk of developing CTS is not confined to people in a single industry or job, but may be more reported in those performing assembly line worksuch as manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning, and meatpackingthan it is among data-entry personnel.
What Does A Positive Result Mean
If you feel a tingling sensation when your doctor taps on your nerve, its considered a positive result. This means that the nerve is likely being compressed by nearby tissue. Such nerve compression can be due to many things, including:
- an injury
72 percent of them had a positive result for Tinels sign
As a result, your doctor will likely use some additional tests to confirm whether or not your nerve is compressed. These might include:
Read Also: Where To Cut Your Wrist To Die
When Might Your Symptoms Not Be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not the only cause of these symptoms. If either of the following signs are present, it may be time to seek a second opinion regarding your condition:
median nerve compression, boise chiropractor, chiropractic care
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Properly Slit Your Wrist
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Faqs
Q: Does typing cause CTS?A: Typing is associated with an increased likelihood of developing repetitive strain injury . If RSI affects the tendons or ligaments in the carpal tunnel, this can cause compression on the median nerve and the development of CTS. However, research has shown that there is at most a very small direct link between computer work and CTS. Activities which involve using the hands and wrists with a greater intensity, such as using vibrating tools, are significantly more likely to cause CTS than typing. The use of ergonomic computer keyboards is, however, sometimes recommended as a preventative measure against developing CTS.
Q: Can children be affected by CTS?A: CTS in children is rare. When it develops, it is most commonly related to having a genetically inherited condition associated with inflammation, such as lysosomal storage disease, which can cause swelling in the joints and pressure to build up in the carpal tunnel. The symptoms of CTS and its treatment options are the same for children as for adults. If you are concerned that your child, or a child that you know, may be affected by CTS, you can get a free symptom assessment by downloading the Ada app.
Ã¢â¬ÅCarpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet.Ã¢â¬ï¿½ National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 10 May 2017. Accessed: 29 January 2018.
Ã¢â¬ÅNonoccupational risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome].Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Journal of General Internal Medicine. May 1999. Accessed: 29 January 2018.
Early Signs Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Now that we have a cursory knowledge of what causes CTS, lets take a moment to familiarize ourselves with some of the first signs of the condition. Similar to RSI, those who develop CTS will often experience the following:
1 Burning or tingling sensations
These symptoms are typically felt during the day and can affect the forearm as well as the wrists and hands.
Most people with CTS report experiencing a loss of feeling in their hands upon waking up in the morning. In most cases, this is the result of sleeping with one or both of their wrist in a bent position, which can place even more strain on an already compressed median nerve.
3 Shock-like sensations
Along with burning, tingling, and hand numbness, CTS can also trigger intermittent shock-like feelings that affect the thumb and fingers. As the condition worsens, this particular symptom will start to present itself more frequently and may become more intense.
4 A decline in pinch strength
Those with CTS will usually experience a loss in pinch strength, which makes even basic tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or gripping small objects, for example, exceedingly difficult.
Those who are struggling with CTS often report feeling pain in their thumb, index, or their middle fingers. The same pain can also sometimes affect their entire hand.
6 Itchy palms
7 Changes in hand temperature
8 Changes in skin color
9 Unable to make a fist
10 Stiff fingers
Also Check: Cutting Your Rist
Specific Wrist Flexor Tendonitis Signs
As already discussed,wrist flexor tendonitissigns and carpal tunnel syndrome signs are very similar. The symptoms are usually in the fingers, hand, wrist or forearm.
- First and foremost, wrist tendonitis first appears while your hand is working. And it normally subsides while your hand is at rest. In contrast, carpal tunnel symptoms first appear when you hand is resting, not working.
- Pain is the primary symptom. It can range from throbbing or soreness to persistent stabbing pain. Usually the pain appears more intensely as youre performing the activity, such as using acomputer keyboard.It will normally NOT be painful at rest.
- Sometimes the pain can seem to travel to your upper arm, shoulders, neck, and back. Other times there’s tingling , numbness, coldness, or loss of sensation in any one of these areas.
- In the fingers and hands you may see a loss of grip strength or dexterity. You may also experience low muscular endurance, weakness, and fatigue. Only on rare occasions will you experience pain, numbness, tingling, or soreness as you lie in bed.
Here’s good ways to tell
One good way to tell if you have wrist flexor tendonitis is toglide your fingersup and down your forearm tendons from wrist to elbow. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome signs, tendonitis signs will be felt as tender or painful nodes. They’re especially prominent directly on top of a tendon in the forearm.This is a sure sign of tendonitis.
What To Think About
Medicine should be used with other measures to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Usually aren’t used until nonsurgical treatments have been tried for several weeks with no improvement.
- Often provide temporary relief . Injected corticosteroids usually provide longer-lasting results than those taken by mouth . But oral or injected medicines rarely provide permanent relief from carpal tunnel symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Stomach Cramps Pregnancy Symptoms
What Are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Five of the main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain
- Especially in the thumb and the index, middle, and ring fingers
Other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Stiff fingers
- Inability to make a fist
- Fingers feel swollen even though little or no swelling is apparent
- Itchy palms
- Changes in hand temperature
- Changes in skin color of the affected hand
- Untreated, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away
- Inability to determine between hot and cold by touch
Signs Of Advanced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Left unmanaged, carpal tunnel symptoms will gradually make daily tasks more difficult as the pain and tingling increase, both in severity and frequency. The aches in your wrists and beyond may become so severe that they wake you frequently and keep you from sleeping. In the most severe cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can keep you from being able to use the affected arm much at all. These symptoms can also take an emotional toll, prompting stress and low moods.
Read Also: Can Blueberries Cause Stomach Pain
Diseases Of The Thyroid
People with improperly-managed thyroid conditions may retain excess fluid in their connective tissues. This contributes to inflammation within the wrist, which can cause CTS, especially if left untreated. Hypothyroidism is particularly linked to CTS, but people with hyperthyroidism are also more likely to develop CTS than the general population.
Severe Cases Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
As your condition of carpal tunnel syndrome becomes worse over time, your grip strength will be affected because the muscles in your hand will shrink.
In addition, the muscle cramping and pain will increase. Due to the pressure and aggravation of the median nerve, it will begin to lose its ability to function, which will lead to the following:
- Loss of sensation in fingers
- Slower impulses of nerves
- Loss of coordination and strength- especially pinching with your thumb.
- Permanent muscle damage
- Loss of function in hand
Due to these extreme occurrences, you do not want to put off seeing a physician if you suspect that you may have the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is best to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
You May Like: Can Blueberries Cause Stomach Pain
How Is Carpal Tunnel Treated
There are a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatment options available to address carpal tunnel syndrome. Every person is different, so its very important that you see an orthopedic physician who specializes in hands so they can make a personalized assessment of the cause and the best next steps for your particular case.
If your physician recommends a non-surgical route, you may:Splint the afflicted hand for added supportUtilize anti-inflammatory medication Try holistic remedies, such as yoga, acupuncture, and massage
However, if your case is deemed severe enough to warrant surgery, you may need to undergo a very safe procedure known as carpal tunnel release. This procedure does not require an overnight stay in a hospital and often provides immediate relief for the patient.
The orthopedic surgeon will cut a ligament in one hands to help lessen the pressure on the median nerve, permanently creating more space in the carpal tunnel without negatively affecting the dexterity and strength of the hands.
To schedule an appointment, please call or click Book Appointment.
Carpal Tunnel Risk Factors
Numerous factors increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. If any of the following risk factors apply, you should watch out for early signs and see a doctor quickly if you observe any.
- This risk includes wrist fractures and dislocation, which may affect the space in your carpal tunnel, resulting in pressure on the median nerve.
- Diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
- Studies show that women are at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome because they commonly have a smaller carpal tunnel than men.
- Obesity or being overweight.
- Certain medications. Some research has shown that certain drugs, such as anastrozole, increase risk of carpal tunnel syndrome development.
- Occupational responsibilities. Some research suggests that tasks requiring repetitive use of the hand and wrist may increase risk, such as those involved in assembly line work.
Read Also: Stomach Pain Symptoms Of Pregnancy