What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like? Three Ways to Know When the Pain is Serious

If you’re dealing with pain in your fingers or wrist, carpal tunnel syndrome might be the reason. There are many different causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, but fortunately, there are methods to treat the pain.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist becomes compressed or irritated.

The carpal tunnel is the area of the wrist between eight bones, known as the carpal bones, and the transverse carpal ligament, which is located on the palm side of the wrist. This area forms a small tunnel that the median nerve travels through. The median nerve functions to provide sensation to the palm side of the thumb, index and middle fingers, half of the ring finger, and muscle strength in the thumb.

Pain is caused when the median nerve is irritated and begins to swell.

What are the Symptoms?

Those who are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome experience numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. These symptoms are typically more pronounced during sleep and in the early morning hours.

Carpal tunnel syndrome makes fine motor skills in these fingers difficult, and the muscles of the thumb can even become small and weak in severe cases.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is the overuse of the wrist. Performing repetitive motions, especially involving a bent wrist such as when typing, can lead to inflammation in the hand and wrist.

Another cause of carpal tunnel syndrome can be trauma from fractures, dislocations of the wrist, and injuries leading to scar tissue. These causes are much less common than repetitive motions.

Pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes can also cause wrist swelling which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are the Treatments?

An effective treatment method for carpal tunnel syndrome involves gentle, hands-on mobilization of the wrist bones to reduce pressure and restore mobility in the carpal tunnel.

This mobilization will also be paired with passive manual traction which is performed to reduce the swelling.

Additional treatment methods can speed up the healing time using modalities such as muscle stimulation, cold laser, and ice or heat.

To stabilize the condition, focus on flexibility through exercise rehabilitation and education regarding proper ergonomic use of your hands. This will help you understand how to minimize the chance of reoccurrence in the future.

Other treatments include splints or braces, medication, and injections. Splinting or bracing the wrist during activities or while sleeping can also provide stability and reduce pain. Taking over-the-counter pain or anti-inflammatory medication can also help. More severe cases are treated by injecting anesthetics or steroids into the area to reduce pain and inflammation.

If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your thumb, index finger, or middle fingers, you could be dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is relief isn’t as far away as you think. Click here to contactAligned Medical Group today.

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