Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most prevalent disorders affecting the hands. Affected individuals may have pain, numbness, and generalised weakness in their hands and wrists. Alterations to your environment and lifestyle, such as wrist splints, are potential remedies. Another treatment for carpal tunnel is surgery.

Who is susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome?

Those who engage in repetitive finger-use activities or jobs are at risk for developing the syndrome. The following actions can put someone at risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Strong (hammering).
  • Long-term usage
  • Extreme wrist swivels

Various other factors can contribute to the syndrome as well. These elements may consist of:

  • Smaller carpal tunnel syndrome may run in families due to heredity.
  • Pregnancy
  • Haemodialysis (a method of filtering blood)
  • Rupture and dislocation of the wrist
  • Wrist or hand malformation
  • Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are two examples of arthritic conditions
  • Hypothyroidism is an imbalance in thyroid hormones
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • A tumour or mass within the carpal tunnel
  • Deposits of the aberrant protein amyloid

What are the causes of this disorder?

When the carpal tunnel in the wrist narrows, carpal tunnel syndrome is the result. This causes the tendons and median nerve (which are inside the carpal tunnel) to press against one another and expand, which disables sensation in the fingers and hand.

What signs and symptoms develop as carpal tunnel syndrome?

The onset of symptoms is usually gradual and they could occur at any time. Early warning indications include:

Numbness in the evening

Finger tingling and/or pain, particularly in the thumb, index, and middle fingers.

Night-time symptoms are frequent and can cause people to wake up from sleep since some people sleep with their wrists curled. Often, the night-time symptoms are the first ones to be noted. Shaking hands can assist lessen discomfort in the early stages of the condition.

Typical midday signs may include:

  • The fingertips are tingling
  • Reduced sensation at the fingertips
  • Having trouble handling little things or performing other minor hand duties
  • A steering wheel to drive
  • Reading while holding a book
  • Writing
  • Using a keyboard on a computer

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worsen and appear more frequently. These signs may manifest as:

  • The hand is weakened.
  • Inability to accomplish actions that call for dexterous movements (like buttoning a shirt).
  • Dropping things.
  • The muscles at the base of the thumb noticeably atrophy in the most serious case.

How is the disorder diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine you after talking with you about your symptoms and medical background. Then tests are conducted, which might involve:

Tinel’s sign involves tapping the median nerve at the wrist to determine whether it causes a tingling sensation in the fingers.

Wrist flexion test (also known as the Phalen test): During this exam, the patient rests their elbows on a table and lets their wrist slip forward naturally. Carpal tunnel syndrome patients will experience tingling and numbness in their fingers within 60 seconds. As symptoms emerge more quickly, carpal tunnel syndrome becomes more severe.

X-rays: If there is restricted wrist motion, arthritis, or signs of trauma, X-rays of the wrist may be prescribed.

Studies on nerve conduction and electromyography (EMG): it can be used to assess how well the median nerve itself is functioning and regulating muscle activity.

What is a carpal tunnel syndrome treatment?

Treatment options for the syndrome include both non-surgical and surgical methods. Both strategies have advantages and disadvantages. Non-surgical treatments typically take care of less serious conditions while allowing you to carry on with your daily activities uninterrupted. In more serious situations, surgical procedures can be beneficial and produce outstanding results.

Non-operative therapies

Typically, non-surgical alternatives are looked into first. The first step in treatment is to put on a wrist brace at night

Using NSAIDs to treat inflammation, such as ibuprofen.

A few cortisone shots

Other treatments emphasise how to change your environment to minimise symptoms. When alterations can be made to help with carpal tunnel syndrome, this is typically seen at work. One of these changes could be altering the chair’s height.

Your computer’s keyboard moving

Adjust the position of your hand or wrist while conducting task

Using the exercises, heat treatments, and splints that a hand therapist has suggested

Surgical treatments

Surgery is suggested when non-surgical therapy is ineffective or the problem has gotten too serious. To relieve strain on the tendons and nerves that pass through the area, surgery seeks to widen the tunnel. To do this, the ligament around the carpal tunnel at the base of the palm is cut (released).