What are the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel:
- Tingling and numbness in hand, especially the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers
- Feelings of a dead hand
- Sharp Burning
- Hands feel tight or swollen
- Electric feeling in hands
- Loss of grip strength
- Sometimes can be worse at night or in the morning
The wrist bones, known as the ‘carpals,’ create a tunnel or passageway for tendons, the median nerve, and arteries that go into and supply your hand. The carpal tunnel space is small, so decreased motion or inflammation can cause irritation and symptoms of tingling, numbness, and feelings of a dead hand. The median nerve innervates the muscles of the thumb, pointer, and middle finger, so when it gets trapped or inflamed, it creates “carpal tunnel syndrome.”
Carpal tunnel most often happens between the ages of 45-60 and occurs more in women than men. It may start where you can shake it off, but if left untreated, it can become constant and annoying.
- Overuse, especially with tight or excessive gripping
- Repetitive motions like typing on a keyboard or using scissors
- Operating equipment with excessive vibration
- Pregnancy and hormone fluctuations
- Metabolic conditions such as diabetes and thyroid issues
- Stretches of the forearm muscles
- Mobilizations of the carpal bones and wrist joint
- Myofascial release of the soft tissues around the carpal tunnel
- Nerve Glides to free entrapped nerves
- Nutritional advice to decrease inflammation
Sometimes carpal tunnel can be a catch-all for any hand or wrist pain. However, not all hand or wrist pain is carpal tunnel. Your symptoms may come from somewhere besides your carpal tunnel if you are experiencing whole-hand symptoms, wrist pain, numbness, and tingling in your ring and pinkie finger. Nerve entrapment can happen in the forearm, pectoralis muscle group, or neck, which can cause hand symptoms. Wrist pain can occur for many different reasons as well.
Other hand and wrist pain conditions include trigger finger, pronator syndrome, arthritis, and DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis. Because of this, a proper evaluation and trial of conservative care are important before starting invasive procedures.