Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes Pain In Hand
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition affecting the hands. People who have this condition will also have numbness and weakness in the hand and wrist. Lifestyle changes, such as wrist splints and changes in the environment are possible treatments. Surgery is also a treatment for carpal tunnel.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a most common problem that develops pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and wrist. It occurs due to increased pressure within the wrist and compresses on a nerve called the median nerve. This nerve circulates sensation to the thumb, index, and middle fingers, and to half of the ring finger. The small finger is mostly not affected.
Where is the carpal tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal or tube like bone in the wrist. This part of the wrist has the median nerve and tendons to connect the hand and forearm. The parts of this tunnel include:
- Carpal bones: These bones built the bottom and sides of the tunnel. They look like a semi-circle.
- Ligament: The upper side of the tunnel, the ligament is a strong tissue that provides the tunnel together. Inside the tunnel passes the median nerve and tendons.
- Median nerve: This nerve gives sensation to most of the fingers in the hand (expect the little finger). It also gives strength to the bottom of the thumb and index finger.
- Tendons: Rope-like structures, tendons associate muscles in the forearm to the bones in the hand. They provide the fingers and thumb to bend.
Risk factor of carpal tunnel syndrome
The risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome are those who do activities or jobs that frequently use fingers. The place people at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- High-force (hammering).
- Long-term use.
- Extreme wrist motions.
Some other factors can also contribute to the higher changes of carpal tunnel syndrome. The factors are:
- Wrist fracture and dislocation.
- Hand or wrist deformity.
- Arthritic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
- Thyroid gland hormone imbalance (hypothyroidism).
- A tumor in the carpal tunnel.
- Older age.
- Amyloid deposits (an abnormal protein).
Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women than in men.
Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused due to when the space (the carpal tunnel) in the wrist narrows. This compresses the median nerve and tendons (located inside the carpal tunnel), which makes swelling, reduced sensation in the fingers and hand.
How frequent is the pain in hand?
While carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem, it has a different kind of symptom from some other sources of hand pain. There are having other cause for hand pain which includes:
- De Quervain’s tendinosis
- Trigger finger
Symptoms usually start slowly and can develop at any time. Early symptoms include:
- Numbness at night.
- Tingling and/or pain in the fingers
Mostly, because of sleeping like their wrists curled, nighttime symptoms are frequent and that will wake the people from sleep. These nighttime symptoms are the first symptoms that would be identified. Shaking the hands will help to relieve the symptoms in the early stage of the problem.
Common daytime symptoms can include:
- Tingling in the fingers.
- Reduced feeling in the fingertips.
As carpal tunnel syndromes get increased, symptoms will become more constant. These symptoms will include:
- Weakness in the hand.
- Inability to do activities that require delicate motions (such as buttoning a shirt).
- Dropping objects.
- In the most severe form, the muscles at the bottom of the thumb visibly shrink in size (atrophy).
Diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome
At the start, the doctor will discuss symptoms, medical history and will examine you. Next, tests are asked to do, which will include:
- Tinel’s sign: In this test, the physician taps on the median nerve at the wrist to see if it makes any tingling sensation in the fingers.
- Wrist flexion test (or Phalen test): In this test, the patients rest the elbows on a table and see the wrist to fall forward freely. Some with carpal tunnel syndrome will have numbness and tingling in the fingers within 1 minute. The faster symptoms are seen, the more severe the carpal tunnel syndrome.
- X-rays: X-rays of the wrist will be told to take if there is limited wrist movement, or evidence of arthritis or trauma.
- Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies: These studies show how well the median nerve automatically works and how it controls muscle movement.
Carpal tunnel syndrome will be treated in 2 ways: Non-surgically or with surgery. Typically, non-surgical treatments are preferred for less severe cases and allow you to continue with daily activities without interruption. Surgical treatments will help in some severe cases and have very positive results.
Non-surgical treatments are mostly preferred first. Treatment begins by:
- Wearing a wrist splint at resting time.
- Intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.
- Cortisone injections.
Surgery is done when carpal tunnel syndrome does not heal with non-surgical treatments or has already become severe. The goal of surgery is to increase the size of the tunnel in order to reduce the pressure on the nerves and tendons that pass through that space. This is done by relaxing the ligament that covers the carpal tunnel at the bottom of the palm. This ligament is also known as transverse carpal ligament.
There is no proven evidence to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but you can reduce the pressure on the hands and wrists with these methods:
- Reduce the force and relax the grip. If the work is the kind of a cash register or keyboard, for instance, hit the keys smoothly. In writing, use such a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
- Take short, frequent breaks. Slowly stretch and bend hands and wrists.
- Watch the position. Avoid bending the wrist towards up or down. A relaxed middle position with the rest of your hand is best. Place the keyboard at elbow height or slightly lower.
- Improve the posture. Incorrect posture makes the shoulders forward, shortening the neck and shoulder muscles and also compressing nerves in the neck. This can affect the wrists, fingers and hands, and can develop neck pain.
- Change computer mouse. Make sure that the computer mouse is comfortable to wrist.
- Keep your hands warm. More likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if work in a cold environment so avoid that