A Dulles Neurology Specialist Discusses Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

painful carpal tunnel wrist

Painful and progressive, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most prevalent entrapment neuropathy. Studies show that it affects around 3-6% of adults in the overall population. Early diagnosis is crucial to managing this condition. A trusted Dulles neurology specialist explains why by discussing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome’s causes, risk factors, symptoms, potential complications, and treatment.

Causes

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the wrist’s median nerve is compressed or irritated. The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow passageway on the palm side of the hand that’s surrounded by bones and ligaments. Also known as median nerve compression or median nerve entrapment, this condition can be caused by:

  • Tendon inflammation
  • Nerve swelling
  • Repetitive hand and wrist maneuvers, such as writing and typing

Aside from these, any health condition that puts pressure on the wrist’s median nerve can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, such as:

  • Trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pregnancy

Certain rare diseases that cause nerve irritation in and around the carpal tunnel, including multiple myeloma, amyloidosis, leukemia, and sarcoidosis.

Risk Factors

People who fall under the following categories are extremely vulnerable to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

  • Women have smaller carpal tunnels, thus are more likely to develop the condition than men
  • People who are related to someone with small carpal tunnels
  • People who have suffered from a fractured or dislocated wrist
  • People with jobs that involve repetitive motions using the hands, wrists, and arms, such as a writer, cook, baker, hairstylist, cashier, factory worker, and musician

Symptoms

According to a Neurologist in Leesburg, the signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome typically begin gradually. They include:

  • Numbness in the fingers, hands, and arms
  • Weakness in the hand and arm, to the point that objects are dropped unintentionally
  • Tingling sensation, like an electric shock, traveling from the wrist to the arm when holding something
  • Pain and muscle cramping

During the onset of the condition, most of these indications can be removed by shaking out one’s hands. If the patient continues to engage in the activities that contribute to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, these symptoms may occur more frequently over time.

Complications

If left untreated, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can lead to the following:

  • Atrophy
  • Reduced feeling in the fingers
  • Less strength and dexterity in the affected fingers
  • Slower nerve impulses and reactions
  • Muscle weakness from the base of the thumb.

Schedule an appointment with your Dulles neurology specialist if Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is suspected. That way, if you do have the condition, you’ll be able to get treatment and prevent complications.

Treatment

A neurologist can alleviate the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by prescribing any of the following:

  • Exercises that improve nerve mobility in the carpal tunnel
  • Medications designed to lessen swelling, such as steroid shots and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Immobilization using a splint to reduce the pressure on the nerves
  • Lifestyle changes, such as taking breaks more often when doing activities that put pressure on the median nerve
  • Surgery that increases the size of the carpal tunnel to ease nerve pressure

Consult with a Neurologist at the First Sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Prompt diagnosis is key to managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so stay alert for its indicators. Set an appointment with your trusted neurologist in Leesburg, VA immediately if you or someone you know are exhibiting the condition’s symptoms.

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