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Everything You Need to Know About Carpal Tunnel

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Everything You Need to Know About Carpal Tunnel

Have you ever experienced a tingling sensation in your fingers and wondered what was causing it? Maybe your hand fell asleep, you had a pinched nerve, or perhaps you have carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’ve ever experienced carpal tunnel syndrome, you know just how difficult it can make your life. Not only do you experience pain and discomfort, but carpal tunnel syndrome makes it hard to complete your day-to-day tasks. Without the proper treatment and carpal tunnel exercises, carpal tunnel syndrome can be hard to beat.  

Below, we’ll go over carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms, and the treatment options. 

What is carpal tunnel syndrome? 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and forearm. It’s caused when the median nerve – one of the major nerves leading to the hand – gets compressed or pinched. 

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome? 

Most carpal tunnel syndrome cases have no leading cause, although women are 3-4x more likely to be affected as well as people aged 40-60. Here are some possible reasons you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome:  

  • Hereditary: A congenial predisposition is most often the case with people who have carpal tunnel syndrome. Some people are born with naturally smaller nerves or have other anatomical differences that run in the family, making some people more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome — namely women.  
  • Wrist trauma: Acute carpal tunnel syndrome can be found in people who have suffered trauma to their wrists. Exercise for carpal tunnel syndrome is essential if you are healing from wrist trauma.  
  • Health conditions: Diabetes, thyroid problems, or rheumatoid arthritis are some conditions that can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. 
  • Fluid retention: Fluid retention can be caused by several things such as pregnancy, medication, poor blood circulation, or heart problems. When you retain fluid, your body responds by swelling, which compresses your nerves and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. 
  • Poor habits: Obesity and cigarette smoking have been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome as well.  

What are the signs and symptoms? 

The main symptoms of carpal tunnel are: 

  • Numbness, tingling, and burning in the hand and wrist, specifically in the thumb, index, and ring fingers 
  • Feeling of pins and needles in the fingers 
  • Occasional shock sensations that radiate into the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers 
  • Pain and tingling that radiates to the shoulder 
  • Hand weakness 
  • Swelling in the fingers 

How is carpal tunnel treated? 

Treatment for carpal tunnel involves behavioral modifications, rest, ice, wearing a wrist splint, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, carpal tunnel exercises, and surgery. Here are some things you can do: 

  1. Wear a splint at night – Wearing a splint at night will keep your wrist from flexing during the night, and provide you with better sleep. A common side effect of carpal tunnel is insomnia due to the pain from wrist flexion over long periods of time. When your wrist flexes, it decreases the space available in the carpal tunnel and causes compression on your nerves.  
  2. Get regular steroid injections – There are 9 tendons that pass through your carpal tunnel, and when there is swelling, there is pressure in the nerve. Getting regular injections will decrease the swelling in your tendon lining and increase space for the median nerve, providing relief.  
  3. Take anti-inflammatory medicine – This can help reduce swelling and mitigate pain, similar to steroid injections, and provide short-term relief.  
  4. Exercises – Carpal tunnel exercises such as wrist flexion stretches and tendon glides are perfect ways to strengthen the muscles in your wrist and keep them from getting tight, alleviating some pain.  
  5. Yoga – In a similar vein to exercise, studies have shown a correlation between yoga and carpal tunnel syndrome relief, such as improvement in pain and grip strength.  
  6. Surgery – This involves the division of ligaments and muscles in the carpal tunnel to create space for your nerves, decreasing compression, pain, and increasing dexterity. This is a long-term solution that we often recommend to people severely inhibited by carpal tunnel syndrome.  

The great thing about Flagler Health is that we offer virtual treatment. Many of these treatments and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome are easy to do from home. You may be interested in our virtual care options if you are looking for more convenient care for your Carpal Tunnel.  

Carpal tunnel can be disruptive to your day-to-day life, but thankfully when you do carpal tunnel exercises, you can help not only treat and alleviate your symptoms but also strengthen your arms, hands, and wrists to prevent carpal tunnel from coming back in the future. Contact the expert team at Flagler Health+ to learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome.