How often are your nights disturbed by a tingling sensation in your arms, hands or fingers? Maybe you’ve also noticed weakness in your hands when trying to grip even the lightest objects? If so, you may be experiencing the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. This arm and hand condition can be caused by the pinching of a nerve in your wrist. While it can be successfully treated, knowing the conditions, causes and risk factors is important in getting the most out of your treatment.
The Root of the Problem
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the wrist and hand through a small passageway in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. This nerve is responsible for the sensation on the palm’s side of the hand, excluding the little finger. It’s also the main component in signaling the nerves that provide movement to the muscles at the base of the thumb.
The effects of the condition can be felt when the median nerve is compressed, irritated or crowded. Injuries and conditions, such as wrist fractures and rheumatoid arthritis, can irritate the median nerve through the narrowing of the carpal tunnel, or by inflammation and swelling. In most cases, the cause is unidentifiable but many risk factors exist.
It’s important to note that the following risk factors are not the direct cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, but they may worsen nerve damage and intensify symptoms such as numbness, tingling and weakness. Risk factors include:
- Anatomic factors: such as wrist fractures or dislocations
- Sex: the condition is more common in women due to a smaller carpal tunnel size
- Nerve-damaging or inflammatory conditions
- Constant wrist stress due to tool or machinery usage
- Changes in the body’s fluid balance due to factors such as fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
Take the First Step
At Total Pain Care, we are devoted to helping you through the journey toward a pain-free life. Take the first step towards recovery with our board-certified pain management specialists today. Let us evaluate your condition by contacting us in New Jersey for more information about our pain management services.