Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Cause, Symptoms & Treatment

blog, Pain Management Mar 14, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Cause, Symptoms & Treatment | Comprehensive Pain Management Center

The carpal tunnel is a passageway inside of your wrist that is meant to protect the median nerve, which runs down the arm and forearm, into your hand. It can sometimes be affected by a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is excessive pressure placed on the median nerve, causing decreased function in the hands and fingers. It can become so severe that it interferes with the ability to perform even the simplest, daily tasks.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The cause varies from person to person. In some situations, engaging in certain actions may bring about the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as working in a job that requires repetitive use of the hands. Some medical problems may cause the bones in your wrist to weaken, which may increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Medical problems that may weaken the bones, include:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Ganglion cysts
  • Gout
  • Improperly healed injuries
  • Lupus

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop over several years with no noticeable symptoms. However, when symptoms first appear they typically include tingling or burning sensations in the fingers, pain and numbness in the hand, weakness in the hand, and an inability to grasp onto objects. Carpal tunnel syndrome involves injury to the median nerve, so it affects the parts of the hand that the median nerve supplies, including:

  • The thumb
  • Index finger
  • Middle finger
  • Lower half of the ring finger

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

There are a variety of non-invasive techniques that are typically used in an attempt to treat the minor symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Adjusting lifestyle and working habits
  • Resting the wrist by taking several small breaks throughout the day
  • Applying ice packs to reduce the swelling
  • Wearing a wrist splint
  • Taking over-the-counter medications to relieve pain

In cases where non-invasive forms of treatment are unsuccessful, surgery may the only option. Surgery is done to remove the pressure from the median nerve by making the carpal tunnel wider.

Maintaining good overall body healthy, avoiding bad habits and using ergonomically designed equipment may help to reduce the risk of getting this syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be extremely painful, especially if the condition has progressed. If you suspect you may have early onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to visit your family physician as soon as possible to explore non-invasive treatments, which may help to prevent worsening of the condition.

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