Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you’re feeling numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand, consider asking your doctor to check you for carpal tunnel syndrome.
It's caused by pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of the arm, goes through a passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in the hand. The median controls the movement and feeling of your thumb, and also the movement of all your fingers except your pinky.
The carpal tunnel is narrowed as a result, usually from swelling.
Often, people don't know what brought on their carpal tunnel syndrome. But it can happen due to:
- Repetitive motions, like typing or any motions of the wrist that you do over and over. This is especially true of actions when your hands are lower than your wrist.
- Conditions like hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and don't get it treated, its symptoms can last a long time, get worse, and can even go away and return. When your doctor diagnoses it early, it's easier to treat.
What Are the Symptoms?
You may feel a burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of your hand and thumb, or index and middle fingers.
You might first notice that your fingers "fall asleep" and become numb at night. That usually happens in the evening because of the relaxed position of your hand and while sleeping.
In the morning, you may wake up with numbness and tingling in your hands that may run all the way to your shoulder.
What Happens in Severe Cases?
As carpal tunnel syndrome becomes more severe, you may have less grip strength because the muscles in your hand shrink. Pain and muscle cramping will also become worse.
The median nerve begins to lose function because of the irritation or pressure around it. This leads to:
- Slower nerve impulses
- Loss of feeling in the fingers
- A loss of strength and coordination, especially the ability to use your thumb to pinch
You could end up with permanent muscle damage and lose function in your hand. So, don't put off seeing a doctor.