From twisting to gripping, typing, and lifting, your wrist plays a crucial role in your daily activities. Our wrists are required to perform high-level work and we often take our wrists for granted. Over time, with intense activities, they can become susceptible to pain and serious injuries.
Do you suddenly feel pain or a tingling sensation every time you move your wrists? This can be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. Affecting more than 3-6% of adults in the U.S., the prevalence of this condition tends to increase with age. This can appear in one or both of your wrists. From symptoms to causes and treatment, this article will tell you everything you need to know about carpal tunnel syndrome.
So, What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Let’s begin by understanding this syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve that passes into your hand gets compressed. This nerve is located on the palm side of the hand. It is responsible for providing sensation to your fingers (thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger), except the small (pinky) finger. When inflammation occurs, this can lead to compression in the carpal tunnel, causing numbness and weakness.
What Is The Carpal Tunnel?
Moving onto the more biological side of this syndrome, the carpal tunnel is a narrow tube that’s located on the underside of your wrist. It acts as an entryway to the palm for tendons and the median nerve, connecting your hand and forearm. These tendons are like ropes, which connect your muscles to the bones and they help your fingers move and bend.
What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
1. Tingling Sensation Or Numbness
One of the most common symptoms is numbness and tingling in your fingers or hands. Since the median nerve doesn’t connect to the pinky finger, only your first four fingers will be affected. The symptoms can even be experienced upwards to the forearm and towards your shoulder.
Another common symptom is weakness in your hands. You might have difficulty holding objects like a coffee cup or cooking utensils or moving your hands due to the numbness.
3. Electric Shock
An electric current might also travel through your fingers. This often occurs when you’re gripping an object or just after you wake up from your sleep.
These symptoms don’t occur all at once. Sometimes, the symptoms come and go without consistency. However, over time, without proper treatment, these symptoms can worsen, increasing in frequency and intensity.
Most patients complain about night-time symptoms due to their sleeping positions. If you feel any tingling sensation while sleeping, simply shaking your hands may help in reducing the intensity.
What Causes This Syndrome?
The reason why you might experience pain in your carpal tunnel is because of extra pressure on the median nerve. This exertion can lead to inflammation and swelling. Some common conditions that cause carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- high blood pressure
- fluid retentionfrom pregnancy or menopause
- thyroid dysfunction
- autoimmune disorders
- wrist fracture
The condition can worsen over time due to overexertion of the wrist, which results in swelling. A few examples of common practices that can lead to strain on the wrists are: incorrect typing posture and incorrect position of wrists, using hand tools and other vibrating power tools, and playing the piano. There are many activities that place high demand on your wrists.
Who’s More At Risk?
Did you know women are 3 times more likely to get this syndrome as compared to men? Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 to 60.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
The treatment for this syndrome depends on the stage of your condition. Here are some common treatment options:
1. Change Your Lifestyle
If you notice that extra movement of your wrist triggers symptoms, then you might have to alter your daily schedule in a way that includes more breaks and less pressure on the wrist. If you have a job that requires a lot of typing, be sure to take breaks to give your wrists time to relax.
2. Try Stretching Exercises
Hand exercises and hand stretches can help this condition. First, consult with your doctor, as doing the wrong exercises and stretches may worsen your symptoms.
3. Wear a Splint
Some doctors may recommend wearing a splint to avoid extra wrist movement and reduce the pressure on your nerves. This is particularly helpful during the night to prevent tingling sensations and ensure you get a proper night’s rest.
If you still experience symptoms, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid shots to help reduce the swelling.
In cases where none of the above works and the symptoms tend to get worse, you may need to consider a minor surgical procedure, during which the tunnel size will be increased, easing the pressure on your nerve.
Expert Surgeons in Reno, Nevada
When it comes to wrist injuries, the longer you postpone medical treatment, the worse it might get. Your wrist plays an active role in your daily life, so proper care and attention are necessary. Don’t wait any longer, reach out to a specialist at Sierra Neurosurgery Group today.
If you’re looking for pain management doctors nearby, look no further than Sierra Neurosurgery Group. We treat a variety of peripheral nerve conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Nerve Injuries, Peripheral Nerve Tumors, and Peroneal Nerve Dysfunction. Our team of experienced spine and pain specialists in Reno performs several minimally invasive and complex treatments such as carpal tunnel surgery, spinal fusion, neuro-oncology radiation, and more. For more details, call us at 775-323-2080. We look forward to helping you.