Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms

 

You may notice tingling and numbness in your fingers or hand. Usually the palm and index, middle or ring fingers are affected, but not the base of your thumb or your little finger. You might feel a sensation like an electric shock in these fingers. These symptoms often occur while typing, holding a steering wheel, using a phone, reading a book or newspaper, or may wake you from sleep.

Many people "shake out" their hands to try to relieve their symptoms. The numb feeling may become constant over time. This temporary relief is a key indicator of carpal tunnel syndrome

And lastly weakness or a lack in coordination in your hands. You may start to drop objects, be unable to open jars, etc. more frequently.

Causes
 

The median nerve runs from your forearm through a passageway in your wrist (carpal tunnel) to your hand. It provides sensation to the palm and your fingers, except the little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb.

 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by irritation of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel.

Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Poor posture or an injury can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve. In some cases, swelling and inflammation caused by and injury or chronic arthritis can also irritate the nerve.

Many times, there is no single cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be that a combination of risk factors contributes to the development of the condition.

Prevention:

There are no proven ways to reduce your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, you can do things that change your workstation, mouse, keyboard, car position, etc. to reduce stress on your wrist and hand.

When to see a doctor

Right away! Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive disease that can be treated early on. Waiting increases the likelihood for surgery and increases the time needed for treatment. See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome that interfere with your normal activities and sleep patterns. Permanent nerve and muscle damage can occur without treatment.

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