Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: There is an area in the wrist from where the median nerve enters the hand. It is known as carpal tunnel. It is usually a narrow tunnel. The median nerve provides movement and feeling to the parts of the hand including the thumb, the palm, the thumb side of the ring finger, the middle finger, and the index finger. When there is an excess pressure on this nerve or swelling that pinches the nerve – it may lead to pain, weakness, tingling sensation, numbness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers. The condition is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a painful and progressive condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

  • Numbness in the palm of the hand
  • Pain and weakness in the hand
  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness in the fingers especially the index finger and thumb
  • Itching, burning or tingling sensation

Symptoms manifest slowly and progress gradually. They often occur during the night or after waking up in the morning. People who have this condition shake their hands out when they wake up. In severe cases, sleep gets repeatedly disturbed during the night.

Initially, the symptoms develop in the thumb and the two fingers next to the thumb. Gradually the symptoms may extend to the palm, hand, and forearm.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes

Many people are worried that their numbness, tingling sensation, and problems with the wrist are always due to their repeating movements while playing sports, musical instruments, working on a typewriter, computer, using a mouse, or due to repeating hand movements while working. However, there is a possibility of developing Carpal tunnel syndrome by making use of the same hand and wrist motion over and over. Studies have mixed findings that these activities can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But the narrowing of the carpal tunnel due to bursitis or tendinitis in the hand can lead to the symptoms owing to these activities.

There is also a possibility of developing this syndrome if people use hand tools that vibrate. In some cases, people who are born with a small carpal tunnel may develop this condition.

Women are more prone to this condition compared to men. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common in people aged around 30 to 60 years. The prevalence of this condition increases with age. The following factors may also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Obesity
  • Infections
  • Alcohol Use
  • Arthritis of the wrist and bone fractures
  • Tumour or cyst that grows in the wrist
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Women during pregnancy or after menopause are prone to this condition. This happens when their body keep extra fluid.
  • Amyloidosis – This is the condition in which body deposits abnormal protein.

What happens when Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is left untreated?

If carpal tunnel is left untreated, muscles at the base of the thumb become sore and do not work properly. The person having this issue gradually loses sensitivity to cold and hot while using thumb and finger. Pain, burning, and tingling sensation become worse when the person uses the affected hand or when the hand or arm is held in the same position for long. Progression of the condition leads to loss of grasping and gripping strength and persistence of symptoms throughout the day. The affected individual at first finds it hard to fist or grasp small objects. And also, typing, working with a laptop, doing up buttons, and opening lids of cans or bottles become a challenge.

Self-Care Tips

Mild symptoms can improve with lifestyle changes. For instance, by managing the triggers. Taking rest during repetitive hand movements gives time for the wrist and hand to rest and recover. If symptoms flare up intermittently, then resting the hand and wrist help in relieving symptoms. Taking the help from an occupational therapist works – they teach how to do repetitive work. Using wrist sprints can also help – but one should talk to their doctor about their apt usage.

The above tips may help when the symptoms are mild

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment in Hyderabad

To address the underlying inflammatory conditions, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin are useful. They help in relieving short-term pain. Botox injections and exercise are the other options. In some cases, mixed therapies involving, drugs, exercise, yoga, and occupational therapy may be beneficial.

Medication and other therapies – doctors may prescribe corticosteroid injections. However, they are not advisable in the long run or when symptoms return – owing to the adverse effects of using steroids.

If symptoms last for more than six months and become chronic, surgery is recommended.