An estimated 10% of adults will suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), making it the most common form of entrapment neuropathy, which occurs when peripheral nerves are compressed while traveling through narrow spaces, such as the wrist.
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our board-certified vein specialist can evaluate your condition and tell you if you have carpal tunnel syndrome and what you can do to remediate your symptoms.
However, an ounce of prevention is worth the proverbial pound of cure. If your wrist is aching, tingling, or going numb in the night, those issues might be the early symptoms of CTS. Here’s how to prevent symptoms from worsening.
An overview of CTS
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to a painful condition caused by compression of the median nerve as it runs through your wrist and passes into the palm of the hand. This nerve supplies impulses to the muscle that powers your thumb and provides sensation to your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of the ring finger.
Swelling inside your wrist causes compression of the median nerve, causing numbness, weakness, and tingling. When you have carpal tunnel syndrome, swelling in the wrist is causing compression to be severe enough to cause stabbing or aching pain.
People who are female and/or work a job that uses respective hand and wrist motion are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. So are those who have certain pre-existing conditions such as:
- Autoimmune disorders (example: rheumatoid arthritis)
- High blood pressure
- Fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause
- Fractures or trauma to the wrist
- Thyroid dysfunction
Doctors diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome from your medical history and physical examination tests called nerve conduction studies. This is a diagnostic test that can measure the conduction speed of your nerve impulses. Slow pulses as the nerve passes into the hand are a sign you could have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome
You can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by protecting your wrist health. Get enough sleep, take breaks when you work, wear a wrist brace when you can, and keep a heating pad handy to maintain warmth in your wrists. Get an ergonomic desk, keyboard, and mouse pad, and work on causing your wrist the least amount of stress possible.
If you are suffering from numbness, tingling, or pain in one or both wrists, it’s time to seek professional help. You can contact our office for an appointment by calling 201-962-9199, or request a consultation online today.