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What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like

What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like

What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like

Fast FactsCarpal tunnel syndrome is a common, treatable condition marked by sensations of numbness in the hands and wrist.Simple stretches and environmental tweaks may help treat symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Complementary approaches, like acupuncture, might help relieve carpal tunnel pain.A common nerve disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome can be related to other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and gout. Occupational tasks, including using vibrating hand tools, assembling small parts, and scrubbing, increase your risk for developing the disorder. With so many common risk factors, it’s no wonder carpal tunnel syndrome impacts 1 in 20 Americans.Symptoms include tingling, numbness, and pain spreading from your palm to your fingers. When the median nerve, which lies inside the narrow passageways that span the palm side of the wrist, gets compressed, these symptoms can occur.Treatment for Carpal Tunnel SyndromeThankfully, carpal tunnel syndrome is very treatable. It’s important to see a doctor for an exam, to rule out other issues and to learn what you can do to comply with treatments. While a doctor may prescribe pain relievers, administer cortisone shots, or even recommend surgery, there are many complementary steps that you can take to help ease discomfort as you heal. Whether the root cause is rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or something else, there’s a lot you can do to help relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.1. Buy a Wrist BraceWearing a wrist brace at night might help ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, according to a study published in the January–March 2015 issue of the Journal of Hand Therapy. It’s common to sleep with the wrist flexed, which irritates the nerve and puts pressure on the carpal tunnel area, says Lenore Frost, PhD, chief clinical director at Hand Therapy Associates in Woodbridge, Connecticut, and clinical associate professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Braces sell online for about $50, but Dr. Frost suggests that people ask their doctors for a recommendation. You can wear it during the day, too, notes Paul Sueno, MD, a physiatrist in Tacoma, Washington. If you do decide to use it in the daytime, just limit it to six hours. There are also custom-made braces that can be worn during the day, including at work.2. Stretch Your Hands and WristsTaking short stretch breaks during the day may open up the irritated nerve pathways that lead to the hand, says Frost. One of her favorite moves for people who work desk jobs is the “corner stretch,” which soothes the nerves in the shoulder and neck area before eventually calming the nerves near the wrists.To try it, find an empty corner. Then, place a palm and a forearm on each wall at a height that’s slightly above your shoulders; your elbows should form a 90-degree angle. With one foot in front of the other, keep your feet on the ground and bring your body forward until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Hold for 10 seconds. (If it hurts, stop.) Repeat this every 45 minutes.3. Try Hand ExercisesCertain movements, called “tendon-gliding” exercises, which require tendons to extend to their maximum potential, may reduce the swelling around the median nerve, according to experts. A study published in August 2012 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research found that these exercises could reduce a person’s symptoms, while people who just remained active and didn’t do these movements didn’t see any reduction in pain.4. Pay Attention to Your WorkstationIf you work at a desk job, it’s important to keep your hands in a “neutral” position, with your fingers in line with your forearms, says Dr. Sueno. “If your wrist is in a neutral position, that really minimizes the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome,” he says.This might be easier with a desktop computer, since you can adjust them as needed. Frost is adamant that people shouldn’t use laptops, while Sueno says that either is fine. The most important thing, he says, is to be careful not to overextend your wrists while typing.5. Cool ItStudies have produced conflicting results, but some experts say that icing your wrist may ease some of the pain from carpal tunnel syndrome. As Sueno tells patients, if icing helps, “go ahead and do it.”One pilot study published in February 2015 in the journal Medical Science Monitor suggested that Thermacare cold packs may be more effective at treating carpel tunnel syndrome symptoms than a low-level heat wrap. (The research was supported by a contract from Pfizer, the manufacturer of Thermacare products.) In the study, people held the cold pack on the palm side of their hand for 20 minutes. If that’s too long — and you start seeing redness or irritation — experts caution to take off the ice or other cold pack.6. Consider a SupplementExperts disagree about whether vitamin B6 supplements can help people who are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. One study published in August 2013 in the Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin found that people who took a 120-milligram (mg) dose for three months experienced more pain relief at the end of the experiment than those who took a placebo.Sueno says, “B vitamins are important for nerve functioning,” but you should only try taking B6 if you’re deficient in the vitamin already — and in this case, only if your doctor approves. The maximum amount of B6 people should get is 100 mg a day, so you should only go over that amount under your doctor’s supervision. Also, supplements may interact with other drugs, so be sure your doctor knows everything about your medication regimen, notes Sueno.7. Ask About AcupunctureEven a short-term acupuncture treatment might give long-term pain relief. A study published in February 2011 in The Journal of Pain found that people who underwent eight sessions of acupuncture a month reported an improvement in their symptoms even about a year later. The research also found that this treatment worked even better than a course of oral steroids. The study authors suspect that acupuncture may increase the blood flow in the arteries that supply blood to the nerves.Additional reporting by Cheryl Alkon
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What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like

About Carpal-Tunnel.net Glossary Sitemap Sign in About CTSFAQ-listSymptomsCauses- Epidemiology- Genetics- Histology- Biochemistry- A theorySpecial Topics- Secondary CTS- Double Crush- CTS in pregnancy- Breast Cancer- The TriadCTS ResearchPatient TalesLinksReferences Symptoms and signs of carpal tunnel syndrome The earliest symptoms of CTS are usually tingling / pins and needles, in some combination of the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers which most characteristically wake the patient during the night, usually at about 3:00 am but a variety of other things may be noticed by the patient or medical professional examining the hand. Tingling/Pins and Needles (Paraesthesiae or Acroparaesthesiae) This sensation is familiar to most people from the common experience of having a foot 'go to sleep' after sitting in an awkward posture for some time or after hitting the 'funny bone' at the elbow on a door frame. In ordinary life this sensation is mostly perceived as mildly unpleasant but distinct from 'pain'. In carpal tunnel syndrome the distinction between tingling and pain can sometimes become blurred, the tingling of CTS sometimes possessing a peculiarly unpleasant character. The anatomical distribution of the median nerve suggests that this abnormal sensation should be felt only in the thumb, index and middle fingers and the adjacent side of the ring finger but in some patients it appears to spread outside this area. Patients who get tingling ONLY outside this area probably do not have CTS. Numbness / Loss of sensation Whereas tingling/paraesthesiae can be thought of as an increase in sensation, this symptom refers to reduced sensation. It is rare for a digit to become completely numb in CTS such that no touch, pinprick, pain, burn etc can be felt at all but a perception of loss of sensitivity of the fingertips is common and when persistent suggests more severe nerve impairment. As with tingling, this symptom should theoretically occur only in the anatomical territory of the median nerve but some patients do seem to experience more widespread numbness. Occasionally loss of sensation can become so severe that the patient does begin to suffer injuries to the fingertips without noticing – burns being the most common. This patient had no measurable function in the median nerve when tested and did not remember how these lesions of the fingertips developed. Pain Pain, as a distinct sensation recognisably different to tingling and numbness, undoubtedly occurs in carpal tunnel syndrome and can be an early or late feature. It is also the most variable symptom in distribution, sometimes affecting not only the hand and fingers but the arm all the way up to the shoulder. The mechanism by which CTS causes pain is poorly understood and patients attending the Canterbury clinic may notice that we ask a lot of questions about it while we try to understand the differences between patients in this respect. We have assisted with a research study, based in Oxford and London, the – PiNS Study. This is now complete and demonstrated interesting changes in the small nerve fibres which carry pain sensation in carpal tunnel patients. 'Twanging' A surprising number of patients use this word to describe a sensation experienced in the hand for which there seems to be no entirely satisfactory technical medical term. It is a sudden, unpleasant, shock-like sensation in the palm and or fingers, or occasionally spreading into the forearm, usually precipitated by some movement of the hand. The analogy which patients seem to be making is that of plucking a tight string or suddenly releasing a rubber band. This symptom is described both by untreated and treated patients but seems to be especially noticeable after carpal tunnel surgery. It's relationship to carpal tunnel syndrome and exact cause are uncertain. Swelling Many patients feel that the hand is swollen, or the fingers 'feel like sausages'. Objective examination of the hand and fingers usually fails to reveal any measurable enlargement of either hand or digits and in most cases this feeling of swelling is probably a misinterpretation of the sensations of numbness and clumsiness. There IS often a modest swelling just above the wrist, over the flexor tendons. This is referred to in the American literature as a 'volar hot-dog' and is of uncertain nature. Other swellings which are visible to an observer along with all forms of deformity of the hand joints are usually indicators of other disease processes (some of which may cause secondary CTS). Stiffness A common perception in CTS patients is that the fingers are stiff but when passively flexed by an examiner this is not usually the case. True rigidity of the fingers, like swelling, is usually an indicator of other diseases, either rheumatological (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis), or neurological (dystonia, stiff person syndrome, spasticity of any cause). 'Locking' of the fingers in a flexed position is usually an indicator of 'trigger digits' – a separate condition which is frequently associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Coldness and Colour change The hands may feel subjectively cold (or occasionally hot), but as with many of the symptoms described here measurement of the hand temperature usually does not reveal dramatic coldness. There have been studies of thermography (detailed imaging of the skin temperature) as an aid to diagnosis in CTS which suggest that there are slight changes in temperature but this has not taken off as a diagnostic method (Reilly 1989, Papez 2009). Marked coldness of the fingertips combined with colour change is sometimes a clue to the presence of Raynaud's disease, which is essentially a disorder of the small blood vessels. As with trigger finger, there may be an association between Raynaud's and carpal tunnel syndrome (Hartmann 2011). Weakness Loss of power in the hand is a common complaint. It tends to be most marked for movements which involve use of the small muscles at the base of the thumb – pinch grip and manipulating small objects – and less marked for power grip, although power grip can be mildly impaired after surgery for CTS. Even though there is usually not much demonstrable weakness of grip people with CTS do complain that they drop things a lot and CTS is responsible for a great deal of broken crockery. The mechanism for this is unclear and perhaps reflects a complex disturbance of motor control resulting from impaired proprioceptive input from the hand, modification of central control mechanisms in response to abnormal sensory inputs and subtle disturbance of function of the thenar muscles resulting from phenomena like frequency dependent conduction block. Muscle wasting Visible thinning of the muscles at the base of the thumb is a late feature of CTS indicating severe disease. Sometimes however, osteoarthritic degeneration of the underlying joints can lead to an appearance of wasting of these muscles when they are in fact normal in bulk and strength. An example can be seen on this page. Tremor Tremor of the hand is NOT a symptom of CTS. The next obvious question is 'Why do some people get CTS and not others?' Revision date – 24th February 2012 Start questionnaire Information for Kent patients Information for Kent doctors

What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like

What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like
What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like
What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like
What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like
What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like

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