If you experience pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands and wrists, you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
This condition is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist.
It can lead to a number of problems, including difficulty gripping objects and weakness in the hand.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you experience any of these symptoms, please see a doctor right away!
Let’s dive in.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that results from compression of the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist.
This can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the fingers and hand.
Some people may also experience weakness in the hand and difficulty gripping things.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by repetitive activities that put pressure on the wrists, such as typing or using a handheld device.
It can also be caused by pregnancy, obesity, and arthritis.
Table of contents
- What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
- The warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
- What will happen if carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated?
- Can carpal tunnel syndrome go away on its own?
- How do you fix carpal tunnel syndrome?
- How can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented?
- Final thoughts on warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
The warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
1. Tingling, or numbness in hand or wrist
The first warning sign of carpal tunnel syndrome is tingling or numbness in the hand or wrist.
Some people may also experience a loss of feeling on one side of the hand.
The pain and numbness usually start gradually and get worse over time.
They may also come and go, depending on what you are doing.
If these symptoms occur while sleeping, they may wake you up at night.
Repetitive activities such as typing or using a handheld device can worsen the pain and numbness.
It’s important to seek medical treatment right away so that it doesn’t become permanent nerve damage!
2. Wrist pain
Pain in the wrist is another common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome.
This may be accompanied by swelling or a feeling that something is stuck inside the wrist.
The pain can also spread up into the arm and shoulder, making it difficult to sleep at night due to discomfort.
3. Difficulty gripping objects
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may find that you are unable to grip objects as well as you used to.
This is due to the weakness in the hand caused by the condition.
You may also drop things more often than usual.
It can be difficult to do activities that require manual dexterity,
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away so that they can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and help you manage them appropriately.
4. Weakness in the hand
Some people may experience weakness in the hands that is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.
This can be due to muscle atrophy from lack of use and decreased blood flow to affected areas.
5. Difficulty moving the fingers
In addition to weakness, carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause difficulty moving the fingers.
This is due to the fact that the median nerve controls the movement of the thumb and the first three fingers.
People with this condition may find it difficult to make a fist or to pinch their fingers together.
This can make everyday activities such as picking up a pencil or opening a door difficult to do.
6. Swelling in the wrist
Another common warning sign of carpal tunnel syndrome is swelling in the wrist.
This can be due to inflammation around the median nerve or from fluid retention.
The swelling may also cause pain and a feeling of tightness in the hand.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see a doctor right away to get a diagnosis and start treatment.
7. Changes in hand temperature (colder or warmer)
In most cases, people with carpal tunnel syndrome may notice that one or both of their hands are either colder or warmer than normal.
This is due to the fact that the median nerve controls blood flow to the hand.
When this nerve is compressed, it can affect blood flow and cause the hand to feel cooler or warmer than usual.
What will happen if carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated?
If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent nerve damage in the hands.
This may lead to weakness in the hands and difficulty doing everyday activities such as writing, typing on a computer keyboard, or even buttoning your shirt.
It is important that you see a doctor right away if you think you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome so that they can treat it before any permanent damage occurs.
Can carpal tunnel syndrome go away on its own?
According to some experts, carpal tunnel syndrome can go away on its own if you stop doing the activity that caused it.
However, if you continue doing the activity that caused your symptoms (such as typing), then it will most likely get worse.
It is important to seek medical treatment right away if you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome so that the condition can be managed and stopped from progressing.
How do you fix carpal tunnel syndrome?
The best way to fix carpal tunnel syndrome is by not doing the activity that caused it.
If you have a job where you do a lot of typing, then it is important to take frequent breaks and stretch your hands.
According to orthopedic surgeon William Seitz, MD at the Cleveland Clinic, the following home remedies can help to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Ice packs placed on the wrists can help reduce swelling.
- Wearing a wrist splint at night will keep your hands in a neutral position which may help to reduce symptoms.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help relieve pain and swelling in the wrists.
- Immerse your hand in warm water three times a day.
- Gently shaking your hand can also help to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Make ergonomic changes: if you work at a computer, make sure your chair is adjusted to the correct height and that your keyboard and mouse are in the right position.
If these measures do not help, see an orthopedic physician for further evaluation and treatment options.
How can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented?
There are a few things you can do to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Take breaks often to move your arms and rest your hands and wrists
- Using ergonomic equipment to reduce stress on the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. This includes using a keyboard and mouse that are adjustable so you can find the most comfortable position, as well as a chair that supports your back and allows you to keep your wrists straight while you work.
- Avoid activities that involve repeated hand or wrist movement (such as using a screwdriver) for long periods of time.
- Stretching your hands, wrists, and arms regularly. You can do this by extending your arm out in front of you with your palm facing up and using the other hand to gently pull back on your fingers until they point toward the floor. Do this for 30 seconds, then switch hands.
Final thoughts on warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can be debilitating if not treated.
It is often caused by repetitive activities that put pressure on the wrists, such as typing or using a handheld device.
If you are experiencing any of the warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to see a doctor right away for treatment.
There are many ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, and most cases can be resolved with conservative measures such as rest, ice packs, wrist splints, and NSAIDs.
If these measures do not help, then more aggressive treatments such as surgery may be necessary.
There are also a few things you can do to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing in the first place.
Remember to take breaks often, use ergonomic equipment, and stretch your hands, wrists, and arms regularly.