Carpal tunnel is a very painful progressive ailment which occurs due to the median nerve in the wrist getting compressed on a regular basis. This can result in swelling or inflammation of the nerve. The outer part of the wrist is surrounded by Fibrose, a soft and flexible tissue. The median nerve passes through the tunnel between the radial bone and the Fibrose.
Median nerve controls two-thirds of the whole palm movement and movement of the thumb. If there is undue pressure on the Fibrose matter then it presses on the nerve. Constant pressure can create problems which can even lead to surgery in extreme cases. In the modern times software engineers are often affected by CTS as working on keyboards and mice for hours can also compress the median nerve.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can display many symptoms. The symptoms tend to develop at a slow pace usually marked by intermittent pains while working or during night. The main symptoms are:
- Pain in the wrist and the forearm area.
- Tingling sensations in the thumb and wrist.
- Numbness in the thumb, wrist and forearm. Arm and wrist movement might also get affected.
- Excruciating pain, especially in the night when the syndrome is far more progressed.
The symptoms can either be in one or both the hands but in case of both hands getting affected, the pain will be severe in only one. The pain as mentioned earlier worsens in the night and can disturbing your sleep making you wake up due to pain or numbness. If the symptoms are mild they will affect only one hand and at times the pain can radiate up the forearm towards the shoulder. The other symptoms include:
- Occasional tingling or pricking sensation.
- Severe numbness as if your hand has no sensation at all.
- Pain might increase if you work or use your hand too much.
- Stiffness in the fingers especially the thumb in the morning after waking up.
- Problem in gripping things.
If you are suffering from severe or moderate symptoms then you might also notice things like:
- Problem in gripping things like brushes and combs. That can affect your daily lifestyle.
- You will not be able to do simple tasks like opening a jar. In long-lasting cases the thumb muscles tend to degenerate and get very week.
- Dry skin with swelling or change in the skin color.
- A discomforting feeling or a dull ache.
- Hand becomes less sensitive to touch.
Over the years CTS has attracted a lot of hype. But that often drives people suffering from hand and wrist pains to believe that they have also developed this problem. Most cases of CTS are easily treated via medication, protection for the wrist and letting the arm rest between sessions of work. As mentioned before, the most extreme cases might also need surgery but that is rare. If there is lasting pain in the arm and the wrist you should always visit a doctor for correct diagnosis and proper treatment.