Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common and often painful condition that affects the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist within the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. CTS can cause a range of signs and symptoms, which can vary in severity. Recognizing these signs and symptoms is crucial for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Here are ten of the key indicators of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
1. Numbness and Tingling
One of the earliest and most common symptoms of CTS is numbness and tingling in the hand, particularly in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. These sensations can often be more pronounced at night or when you wake up in the morning.
2. Weakness in the Hand
As CTS progresses, you may notice a weakening of your grip strength. This weakness can make it challenging to perform simple tasks like holding a book, grasping small objects, or using hand tools.
3. Pain and Discomfort
Individuals with CTS frequently experience pain or discomfort in the affected hand. This pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, shooting pains that radiate up the forearm. The pain may be intermittent or constant, and it can be exacerbated by activities that involve the use of the hand and wrist.
4. Swelling and Inflammation
Swelling or puffiness in the wrist or hand is a common symptom of CTS. The swelling may make the wrist feel tight and contribute to the compression of the median nerve.
5. Burning Sensation
Some people with CTS report a burning sensation in the palm and fingers. This sensation can be both uncomfortable and disconcerting.
6. Hand Clumsiness
CTS can cause a sense of clumsiness in the affected hand. You might drop objects more frequently or have difficulty with fine motor tasks that require precision and dexterity.
7. Pain Radiating Up the Arm
In some cases, the pain and discomfort associated with CTS can radiate up the arm, reaching the elbow or even the shoulder. This radiating pain is due to the nerve compression in the wrist.
8. Sleep Disturbances
Many people with CTS find that their symptoms worsen at night, which can disrupt sleep patterns. The numbness, tingling, and pain can lead to frequent awakenings, and individuals may need to shake or hang their hand over the bedside to alleviate symptoms.
9. Worsening Symptoms with Repetitive Movements
Activities that involve repetitive wrist movements, such as typing, using a computer mouse, or assembly line work, can exacerbate CTS symptoms. These activities may lead to increased pain and discomfort.
10. Temporary Relief with Shaking or Massaging the Hand
Some individuals may experience temporary relief from CTS symptoms by shaking or massaging the affected hand. These actions can help to restore normal nerve function temporarily.
Treatment for CTS can range from conservative approaches like wrist splints and physical therapy to more invasive options, such as corticosteroid injections or surgical release of the carpal tunnel. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and individual circumstances. If you have signs or symptoms of CTS, early intervention can reduce the need for more invasive treatments. Contact our team at Allied Pain & Spine Institute to schedule a carpal tunnel syndrome consultation – call one of our centers in the San Jose, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill, CA, area.
Posted on behalf of Allied Pain & Spine Institute