If you have ever experienced pain, swelling or numbness in the side of your hand near your thumb, you may be experiencing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is a condition caused when the median nerve that passes through your wrist becomes compressed. It is a fairly common condition that affects up to 10 percent of the U.S. population.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Excess pressure in the wrist leading to inflammation is the cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome and can lead to pain and discomfort. There is often an underlying medical condition that causes the swelling and pressure in the wrist. Some of the most common conditions include the following:
· Thyroid Dysfunction
· Fluid Retention from Pregnancy or Menopause
· High Blood Pressure
· Autoimmune Disorders
The condition can become much worse when the wrist is over-extended repeatedly. This can lead to further swelling and compression of the medial nerve. Activities or habits that can contribute to this over extension of the wrist include:
· Improper use or poor positioning of wrists while using a computer keyboard or mouse
· Prolonged exposure to vibrations from using power tools
· Repeated movements that over-extend our wrists, such as playing the piano or typing
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Most of the symptoms experienced by those who have carpal tunnel syndrome are felt along the path of the medial nerve. They include a numbness or tingling pain in the thumb of first three fingers of the hand, a painful, burning sensation that can travel up the arm, or even pain in the wrist at night that becomes so uncomfortable that it can affect the amount of sleep you get.
Doctors who treat carpal tunnel syndrome will first look at how severe the symptoms are. It is generally agreed that surgery is the very last resort, so there are a number of other treatments that specialists will try first. Treatment might include:
· Anti-Inflammatory Medication
· Wrist Splinting
· Muscle Work
· Nutritional Supplements
· Cortisone Injections (if necessary)
Arrowhead Health Centers will also help you develop better habits when it comes to using keyboards or typing. We will take a look at any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or arthritis. If needed, we can make suggestions or recommendations of other specialists to see to address these medical conditions.
If you or someone you love is experiencing the debilitating pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, please give Arrowhead Health Centers a call today at 623-334-4000. We are happy to set up a consultation for you with one of our specialists.