Carpal Tunnel and Arthritis Treatments in The Woodlands and Houston
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the
forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the
wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb
and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some
small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The
carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones
at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes,
thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel
and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain,
weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. Although
painful sensations may indicate other conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome
is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in
which the body’s peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching
numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb
and the index and middle fingers. Some carpal tunnel sufferers say their
fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is
apparent. The symptoms often first appear in one or both hands during
the night, since many people sleep with flexed wrists. A person with carpal
tunnel syndrome may wake up feeling the need to “shake out”
the hand or wrist. As symptoms worsen, people might feel tingling during
the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist,
grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. In chronic and/or
untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away.
Some people are unable to tell between hot and cold by touch.
What are the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors
that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel,
rather than a problem with the nerve itself. Most likely the disorder
is due to a congenital predisposition – the carpal tunnel is simply
smaller in some people than in others. Other contributing factors include
trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture;
over activity of the pituitary gland; hypothyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis;
mechanical problems in the wrist joint; work stress; repeated use of vibrating
hand tools; fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause; or the development
of a cyst or tumor in the canal. In some cases no cause can be identified.
There is little clinical data to prove whether repetitive and forceful
movements of the hand and wrist during work or leisure activities can
cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other disorders such as
bursitis and tendonitis have been associated with repeated motions performed in the course of
normal work or other activities. Writer’s cramp may also be brought
on by repetitive activity.
For more information or a consultation about your condition or the
treatments we provide, please call HSRC and start living pain free Today and always remember-
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