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What you need to know about carpal tunnel syndrome

Tingling. Numbness. Pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that involves inflammation in the carpal tunnel, which is the small passageway of bones through which nerves pass from the arm to the hand. Symptoms start gradually, but will worsen over time. If you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome, read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms and what you can do about it.

Strange sensations in the hand

When pressure is put on the median nerve, which is the nerve that runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand, you feel a sensation such as tingling, numbness or pain along the wrist, hands and fingers. A thickened ligament is what puts pressure on the nerve, although it’s not clear exactly what causes it to thicken.

Symptoms are gradual

A progressive condition, the first signs of carpal tunnel syndrome are numbness or tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers. These sensations usually come and go. Over time, you may have pain in your wrist and palm. Some people experience such hand weakness that they drop objects.

Many potential causes and risk factors

Repetitive stress injury in the wrist or inflammation from arthritis are some of the causes behind carpal tunnel syndrome. You’re more likely to develop this condition if you have nerve damage, a narrow carpal tunnel or repetitively flex your wrist. Women are more likely to have this condition than men.

Diagnosis and treatment to follow

A physical exam and tests such as X-rays, nerve conduction tests and electromyogram can help diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatment begins with conservative measures such as medications to reduce inflammation and swelling to surgery to correct severe cases.

If you believe you may have carpal tunnel syndrome or experiencing other concerns with your hands or wrists, call (219) 795-3360 to schedule an appointment.  

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