Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand. This happens because of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of your arm, through a passage in your wrist, and ends in your hand. The median nerve controls the movement and feeling of your thumb and the movement of all of your fingers, excluding the pinky.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include; burning, tingling, or itching and numbness in your palm and thumb, or your index and middle fingers. Symptoms can also include weakness in your hand and trouble holding onto objects, shock-like feelings that move to your fingers, and tingling that moves up your arm.
Early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome may be your fingers “falling asleep” and become numb at night. In the morning you may wake up with numbness and tingling in your hands, that may run all the way up to your shoulder. During the day, your symptoms may flare up while you have your wrist bent, such as when you’re driving or reading a book.
Carpal tunnel syndrome may have many causes, some of which include;
- Repetitive Motions – This includes typing or any wrist movement that you do over and over. This is especially true of anything that you do with your hands when they’re being held lower than your wrists.
- Conditions such as hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
You may be at a higher risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome if you:
- Are a woman. Women are 3x more likely to get it than men. This may be because women typically have smaller carpal tunnels.
- Have a job in which you do the same motions with your arm, hand, or wrists, over and over. This could include; assembly-line workers, sewers or knitters, bakers, cashiers, hairstylists, or musicians.
- Have a family history of small carpal tunnels.
- Fracture or dislocate your wrist.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
As with many conditions, your treatment will depend on your symptoms, and how far your condition has progressed. To treat your carpal tunnel, you may need to do one or more of the following:
Lifestyle Changes: If doing repetitive motions is causing your symptoms, take breaks or do a bit less of the activity that is causing you pain.
Exercises: Stretching or strengthening moves can ease your carpal tunnel pain. Nerve gliding exercises can help the nerve to move better within your carpal tunnel.
Immobilization: Your doctor may tell you to wear a splint to keep your wrist from moving and lessen the pressure on your nerves. You may wear one at night to get rid of the numbness, or tingling feeling.
Surgery: If none of these treatments work, you may need to have an operation that increases the size of your carpel tunnel, and eases the pressure on your nerves.
To avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, try to do the following:
- Keep your wrists straight.
- Use a splint or brace that keeps your wrist in a neutral position.
- Avoid flexing and extending your wrists repetitively.
- Keep your hands warm.
- Take breaks from the activity that’s causing you pain, when you can.
- Put your hands and wrists in the proper position while you work.
If you suffer from any carpal tunnel-like pain or are looking for more information, Atlantic Physical Therapy can help! Their highly qualified physical therapists can conduct an evaluation of your symptoms and match you with the treatment that you need. Contact the experts at Atlantic Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment.