Carpal tunnel syndrome
What is it and do you have it? Great question. I’ll answer that for you today so keep reading.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an injury caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. The injury causes pain and numbness in the index and middle fingers and weakness of the thumb. Carpal tunnel receives its name from the eight bones in the wrist, called carpals, which form a “tunnel” through which the nerves… leading to the hand… extends. However, in some cases of diagnosed CTS, there is also nerve entrapment in the neck. This is called Double Crush Syndrome. The nerves that branch from the neck feed the arms and hands. If there is a problem in the neck, it can mimic carpal tunnel symptoms. It is very important to have your wrists and neck examined for there problems.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of CTS include:
- Nighttime painful tingling in one or both hands, frequently causing sleep disturbance
- Feeling of uselessness in the fingers
- A sense that fingers are swollen even though little or no swelling is apparent
- Daytime tingling in the hands, followed by a decreased ability to squeeze things
- Loss of strength in the muscle at the base of the thumb, near the palm
- Pain shooting from the hand up the arm as far as the shoulder
What Causes It?
The carpal tunnel is filled with tendons (bundles of collagen fibers that attach muscle to bone) that control finger movement. Tasks requiring highly repetitive and forceful movements of the wrist can cause swelling around the tendons, resulting in a pinched nerve and producing CTS. Trauma, certain diseases, and pregnancy may also trigger CTS. On rare occasions, CTS may be genetic (some patients with CTS have carpal canals that are narrower than average).
Who’s Most At Risk?
People working with small hand tools in manufacturing and those using a computer keyboard on a regular basis are at highest risk. Women are 2 – 5 times more likely than men to develop CTS. It most commonly occurs in people ages 30 – 60. CTS is associated with health conditions, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, rubella, pregnancy, connective tissues diseases, obesity, and menopause. High caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol intake are other contributing risk factors.
If you know someone who has CTS, have them call our office today and we’ll do an examination and find out if they are a candidate for our specialized Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Rehabilitation Protocol.
There’s no need to suffer if you don’t have to. The longer they wait, the worse it’ll get.
Dr. Jay Gargus