Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can include numbness, tingling and weakness in the hands and fingers. It is due to interference of the nerve supply to the hands and fingers and it can interfere with normal daily activities. This article shares more details on the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and includes a concise discussion on what causes this condition as well as how it can be treated.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms And Causes
Symptoms can include tingling, pins and needles, numbness or pain, especially in the thumb and first 2 or 3 fingers. This may be worse at night interfering with sleep. The fingers may feel swollen or “fat” first thing in the morning. Shaking the hand will restore feeling in the early stages of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Severe cases may result in weakness in the hand (dropping objects or difficulty carrying bags) or atrophy (shrinking) of the muscles in the hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome results when the median nerve is compressed as it travels through the wrist. Compression may be caused by swelling of the tendons that surround the median nerve or the ligamentous band that forms the tunnel the nerve passes through. Therefore, any overuse (i.e. typing, writing, sewing, driving, painting, sports, etc.), or repetitive abuse of the hands and wrists (i.e. working with vibrating machinery) may initiate symptoms.
Pregnant women who experience swelling in the wrists may be at risk and the condition is most common in people 30 to 60 years of age with women being more likely than a man to develop symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis And Treatments
The first signs of the condition will typically be notice by the person and an evaluated by a physician should be scheduled. The evaluation may include a physical examination complete with orthopedic tests or an EMG (electromyography) which evaluates the function of the nerves.
Treatment begins with the avoidance any irritating activities. This may require changes in the workplace to reduce any stressful movements of the wrist. If irritation continues or symptoms reappear, ice or anti-inflammatory medication (i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen) may be helpful.
A physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections at the wrist, or recommend a brace be worn at night or throughout the day to limit excess motion. Severe cases may require surgery (Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery).