Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to compression of the median nerve as it passes through the “carpal tunnel” in your wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically associated with small and repetitive movements – like using the mouse or keyboard of a computer.
Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, numbness, and weakness in your hands and wrists. The median nerve – the nerve affected by carpal tunnel syndrome – is the same nerve that provides sensation to your thumb, index, and middle fingers and to half of the ring finger. Your pinky finger is not typically affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. The nerve also provides strength to muscles at the base of the thumb.
What is the ‘Carpal Tunnel’?
The ‘carpal tunnel’ is a narrow canal in your wrist. Your carpal bones form the bottom and sides of the tunnel, creating a semi-circle. A strong tissue called a ligament forms at the top of the tunnel, while the median nerve and tendons pass through the narrow space in between.
This tunnel is already quite narrow. Certain conditions can cause the tunnel to narrow even further. Sometimes, for example, the tendons that pass through the tunnel will swell, causing carpal tunnel syndrome by compressing the median nerve.
How Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Occur?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is particularly common among people with jobs or activities involving repetitive finger use, including jobs that involve a lot of typing or other small hand and finger movements. If your job involves prolonged, high-force use of your fingers, then you might be at a particularly high risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s also common among those who repeatedly experience extreme wrist motions or vibrations
Other factors that can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Heredity (some families naturally have smaller carpal tunnel passageways than others)
- Hand or wrist deformities
- Hand or wrist fractures and dislocations
- A mass (like a tumor) in the carpal tunnel
- Older age
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Typical symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include wrist and hand pain. You might also notice tingling or numbness along the side of your thumb, in your index and middle fingers, or in the radial half of your ring finger.
Carpal tunnel symptoms typically begin slowly and get worse over time. You might notice slight tingling at first, only to have it develop into full-blown numbness or pain over a several year period.
Many people notice nighttime symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s because many people sleep with their wrists curled. Some people might even awake from sleep due to symptoms.
During the daytime, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to symptoms like difficulty handling small objects, difficulty holding a car steering wheel, and difficulty performing other common tasks with your hands.
Over time, carpal tunnels syndrome can lead to constant pain, increased difficulty to perform everyday tasks, and other problems.
Our Lakewood chiropractic clinic may be able to manage symptoms of your carpal tunnel syndrome. Effective chiropractic care may be able to significantly reduce pain, stiffness, and discomfort related to carpal tunnel syndrome. Call 720-493-5885 for a free consultation from the leading chiropractor in Lakewood, Colorado.