Get a Helping Hand with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Are you grasping for a reason for the tingling, pain, or numbness in your hand or wrist? All signs point to carpal tunnel syndrome. The nerves and tendons in the wrist pass through a very narrow area known as the carpal tunnel. A major nerve called the median nerve winds through this tiny space. When this nerve gets constricted, it results in a painful condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Luckily, relief is in reach with a variety of treatments. MD Now explains more about this painful problem and how treatment is close at hand.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel

Since the carpal tunnel is already narrow, any further compression can greatly irritate the median nerve. Also, even the slightest injury to this sensitive area can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Interestingly, more women than men suffer from this condition, perhaps due to the fact that they have much smaller carpal tunnels. Many people are puzzled because there is simply no reason for their carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist pain. Yet according to medical experts, the most common causes of the condition include:

  • Arthritis
  • A fracture around the wrist
  • Extensive use of hands and wrist due to career or activity
  • Pregnancy
  • An underactive thyroid
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes

Symptoms of Your Struggle

The majority of symptoms appear in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of the ring finger. This is because the median nerve provides sensation directly to those points. Many people first experience signs of carpal tunnel syndrome in their thumb, index, and middle fingers. The symptoms often start at night with a tingling sensation or wrist pain that radiates to the arm that awakens them from their sleep. In addition, the following symptoms typically occur:

  • A burning, tingling, or throbbing sensation around the fingers.
  • Prolonged numbness in the fingers.
  • Weakness in the hand.
  • Difficulty clenching your hand to form a fist.
  • Inability to grasp or grip ordinary items, such as pens, utensils, household objects, and other small items. 

Reaching for Treatment

If you don’t seek carpal tunnel treatment, the condition can destroy the muscles of your thumb. Fortunately, most cases can easily be treated by wearing a wrist brace at night. Anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injections are also widely used carpal tunnel treatments because they provide fast relief from numbness and discomfort. If these treatments don’t soothe your symptoms, surgery can ease the pressure on the median nerve by creating a broader space for the nerve in the carpal tunnel. 

Preventing the Pain

To decrease your risk of developing the problem from work-related activities, seek out special keyboards to position your wrist in a neutral position. If you are an avid athlete, prevent sports-related carpal tunnel syndrome by asking a sports medicine expert for ways to protect and support your wrist during physical activities.