Do I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If you’re feeling some numbness or pain in your hand or forearm, you might be wondering if you have a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Most of us have heard about it at this point — probably because more than 3 million people are diagnosed with it every year — but how many of us truly understand what it is and how it’s caused? To get a better idea of whether you may have carpal tunnel syndrome and whether you should seek further medical care, let’s look at some facts.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause tingling, numbness, pain, and other symptoms in the hand and arm. It occurs when there is a compression of the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the fingers through a small passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. The median nerve is responsible for feeling and movement in the thumb and the first three fingers on your hand, and thus is responsible for the tingling and weakness commonly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a number of different factors, alone or in combination. You’ve probably heard that prolonged typing or other repetitive hand motions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, but this is not true for everyone. Repetitive activity can lead to swelling, which certainly makes symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worse, but these activities may not be enough to cause carpal tunnel syndrome on their own.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often diagnosed in individuals with the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wrist fracture or other trauma
People with these conditions and others that cause fluid retention or swelling are more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Repeated strain in the workplace or otherwise may also increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome manifest themselves in the wrist, hand, and fingers except for the pinky. These can include:
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, remember that the median nerve only travels through to the thumb and first three fingers. The pinky is controlled by a different nerve, and thus remains symptom-free in carpal tunnel cases.
Should I See a Doctor?
If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is best for you to seek evaluation and schedule an appointment with a doctor (you can learn more about our doctors and schedule an appointment here).
Living and coping with the pain and numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome may be suitable for short periods of time, but no one should miss out on enjoying their life because of an injury or condition. If you’re experiencing symptoms and need relief, get help now, and get back to living your life symptom-free.