Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) progresses gradually. You may first notice tingling sensations in your fingers, which could later lead to numbness. That comes and goes, but over time the sensations get worse. They last a little longer, and soon enough, they become painful enough to disrupt your sleep. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also disrupt your daily activities, as you lose grip on pens, utensils, and other objects.
CTS happens when a nerve in your wrist is pinched, which is usually the result of daily activity. It means the frequent use of hand tools, musical instruments, and other manual labor. Healthcare professionals also suggest that typing or other computer labor may be the culprit, but the subject is still up for debate.
The worst thing about this disorder, however, is that it begins slowly and gradually develops into a painful condition. If left untreated, it could worsen and eventually render limited movements. Read on to learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome and how it can affect your life.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Weakness: The first telltale sign is a tingling and numbing sensation, but as CTS progresses, you’ll experience weakness in the thumb. That will extend to the first two fingers, which limits your grasping ability. It will be difficult to hold a utensil or button a shirt, and dropping things will be a frequent occurrence.
- Sensation problems: Due to the numbness it brings, you may experience some sensation problems. People often experience a feeling of swelling, even with the absence of actual swelling. There will also be a bit of trouble distinguishing hot and cold.
Who is most at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, mainly because of risk factors that are inherent to their biological makeup. Pregnancy may be a cause, but other people with the following conditions are also at risk:
- Thyroid disease
- Arthritis affecting the wrist
- Cysts on the carpal tunnel
- Alcohol drinking habit
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be mild or severe. For mild cases, rest and a splint at night will be recommended. That usually relieves symptoms, especially since the symptoms of CTS normally worsen at night.
Medications may also be recommended, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, but that is only for unbearable cases of pain. If these treatments aren’t effective, your doctor may recommend surgery. That will help release the ligament that’s causing pressure on the median nerve, which is what causes the pain and numbness.
What happens if carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated?
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome will come and go, so it’ll be tempting to wave it off. However, the condition will become worse. The pain and numbness will become constant.
The pain will eventually radiate up to the arm and the shoulder, and over time, CTS will cause your muscles to go into atrophy. In other words, your muscles will begin to waste away. Even with treatment, however, sensation and strength may never be restored completely.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a slow but painful condition that disrupts your daily life. It should never be ignored and left untreated, as your muscles may end up wasting away. Like any other disease, it should be regarded with extreme care and caution. Your hands play a crucial role in your activities, after all—it’s only right to get them the best possible care.
For the best carpal tunnel syndrome treatment, visit us at North Florida Hand & Wrist Center. Book an appointment with us today for the best hand & wrist care!