Introduction to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome If you’ve been battling numbness in your hand along with a piercing, shooting pain in your wrist and forearm, you may be suffering with a hand and arm condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is a progressive, painful condition that affects the nerve in the wrist that provides feeling to the hand and long fingers. Surrounded by ligaments and small bones, the carpal tunnel is a tunnel-like passageway on the wrist. This tunnel protects the main nerve (median nerve) to your hand and the tendons that bend your fingers. The median nerve runs from the forearm into the hand and controls the feeling in the hand and fingers and the muscles around the base of the thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when swelling in the tissue (called synovium) around the flexor tendons in the wrist puts pressure on the median nerve. When the swelling becomes chronic, the median nerve becomes crowded and symptoms such as numbness and pain in the hand can arise. Numbness and tingling can occur sporadically, but over time they may become more frequent. As symptoms become more constant, you may feel clumsy and have difficulty with fine activities like tying your shoes or buttoning a shirt. Symptoms can be more pronounced at night and will often abate with movement. What causes it? There are many causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but in most cases there is no single cause. Many things can contribute to developing carpal tunnel syndrome including:
Genetics: Some families have a greater likelihood of developing carpal tunnel. The size of the carpal tunnel in the wrist will dictate how much swelling can occur before the median nerve is compressed. Some people have smaller carpal tunnels than others and are, thus, more likely to experience Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Repeated use of the hand: Repetitive actions using the wrist can inflame the tissue and may have a role in causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Hormonal changes such as during pregnancy: Women are more likely than men to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and it is possible that hormonal changes are related to the inflammation of the tissue in the wrist. Age: This syndrome occurs more often in the elderly than in the young.It is suspected that age plays a role in the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance can play a role.
If you, or someone you love, suspect that you are suffering through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome contact your doctor. There are multiple treatment options for those who suffer with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and treating the pressure on the nerve in the early will prevent long-term damage.