Symptoms and Causes of a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an increasingly common problem, affecting between 4 and 10 million Americans, many of whom self diagnose their symptoms as something else. Since the symptoms of carpal tunnel are typically non-severe many of those suffering from CTS assume that their pain or suffering is temporary and due to some external condition.
In truth, many small signs may be indicative of Carpal Tunnel. Of course, it is important to get checked out by a physician in order to make sure that the symptoms are indeed causative of CTS and not another condition. As with most health issues, the sooner one identifies the root of the problem, the sooner it can be taken care of. With many patients, CTS can be remedied with the use of wrist supports and exercises, while more severe cases will require surgery.
Most symptoms of CTS begin as infrequent occurrences and progress gradually over a few weeks or months. In the beginning, pain may be subtle so many patients may not even notice until the symptom worsens over time.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel:
- Numb Hands/ Numb Fingers: numbness usually affects the first four fingers (thumb - ring finger) and the palm; patients may lose the ability to sense heat or cold
- Hand and/or Wrist Pain: one of the first symptoms, generally occurs on the palm side
- Tingling Fingers: typically between the thumb and middle finger of the affected hand, sometimes also the ring finger; the fifth finger usually lacks these sensations
- Weakness: may be unable to grasp items and have a tendency to drop things; loss of motor skills in hands
- Swelling Sensation: patients may feel that their hands are swollen even if no swelling is visible
- Arm Pain: hand or wrist pain may extend to the forearm/upper arm
- Poor circulation: hands are cold while forearms/upper arms are warm; hands fall asleep often
Additional symptoms of CTS (which may also be linked to other health issues) include high blood pressure and sleeplessness. Of course, both of these may be pre-existing conditions and not indicative of a development in carpal tunnel syndrome.
Many people who suffer from CTS do so because of environmental factors – such as workspace issues and repetition of a specific motion, but for some the condition may be hereditary. For either situation, the issue is the same – the carpal tunnel has been compromised. In congenital cases, this typically means that the carpal tunnel is smaller than that of most people. In the case of external reasons, there are a few commonly identified practices that can lead to the onset of CTS. In either case, it is important to go to a doctor so he or she can assess the severity of your condition and help decide if wrist supports or a hand splint may aid your recovery or if surgery may be the answer.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel:
- Over activity of the pituitary gland
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Work stress
- Fluid retention in pregnancy/menopause
- Repeated use of high-force vibrating hand tools
Many other causes of CTS are known, so be sure to consult a physician to make a correct diagnosis of your condition.
Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.
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