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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Signs, and Treatments

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A nerve disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome is aggravated by certain activities and pressures that are put on the wrists. Although carpal tunnel syndrome primarily affects the fingers and the hands, it can travel all the way up your arms and into your shoulders. The condition is uncomfortable and can also mimic more serious issues. In order to determine whether or not you have carpal tunnel, it is important to understand the symptoms of the disorder and its causes.

With the rise of technology and the constant use of small cell phones and repetitive hand movement caused by cell phones and typing, the cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are expected to rise.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally caused by excessive use of the fingers, hands, wrists, and arms. It occurs when the median nerve has pressure placed on it in the carpal tunnel area of the wrist. Constant and repetitive motions, such as typing, can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also be the secondary result of an arm or wrist injury, and more commonly occurs in individuals who are overweight or have some type of swelling in the arms or joints. Other risk factors include continuous awkward hand positions and excessive vibration to the hand and wrist area.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

The biggest sign of carpal tunnel syndrome is a tingling or numbness in the arm that is similar to the feeling that is experienced with the hand “falls asleep.” These symptoms usually occur at night, but can also happen at any time of the day. Other symptoms include a dull, aching in the wrists up to the elbow, stiffness in the fingers, and an overall numb feeling that can be felt anywhere from the tips of the fingers all the way up to the shoulder. While it is not unusual for these symptoms to affect the entire arm, they most commonly occur in the lower part of the arm, below the elbow.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed and treated?

In order for a doctor to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, he will need a medical history and an explanation of the symptoms. Your doctor may use tests to rule out other, more serious conditions. There are many treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome, but the most common is a combination of physical therapy and the use of a brace. For extreme cases, surgery is used to relieve the pressure that is on the nerve.