Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that affects the hand and wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage between the wrist and hand. Pain occurs as a result of continuous pressure being put on the median nerve, which travels through the carpal tunnel.
The median is the main nerve that is responsible for the thumb and the first three fingers’ movements. It also controls sensation in the hand. Nine tendons also travel within this narrow passage.
When the median nerve is compressed, it can cause discomfort in the hand and arm and may also result in a tingling sensation or numbness. Other symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome are loss of strength in the affected hand and difficulty gripping items or performing simple but fine motor skills. The condition tends to worsen over time, so it is important to seek medical care as soon as symptoms arise – no matter how insignificant they may seem.
Common During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be related to an increase in inflammation in the body, which is caused by hormone fluctuation during pregnancy. Hormone fluctuation can cause swelling in the body due to fluid retention, and the same is true regarding the compression of the median nerve in the narrow carpal tunnel.
A pregnancy hormone Relaxin may be a contributor. In preparation for delivery, this hormone relaxes the cervix and pelvis, allowing them to expand. It also increases inflammation and may be the culprit behind the swelling in the carpal tunnel.
For women with carpal tunnel syndrome, the hands, fingers, and wrist may throb, and the fingers may have swelling. These symptoms may be more pronounced at nighttime. Carpal tunnel syndrome can present itself in both hands at one time – especially for women who are pregnant.
As pregnancy progresses, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome also progress and may peak at around 30 weeks. Pregnant women who are obese prior to pregnancy are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome than those who aren’t. Obesity also contributes to gestational diabetes, which has also been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Along with gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension also causes fluid retention, which can cause swelling that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome development.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A doctor can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome based on the symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination and may ask for imaging tests to get a better look inside the hand and wrist.
Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include using a splint, reducing activities that cause the wrist to bend, elevating the wrists, physical therapy, and taking pain relievers. Other treatment methods may be recommended if these treatments do not bring you relief.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The experts at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder treat all types of injuries and conditions affecting the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the many conditions we treat.
Visit us today and see how we can help bring you relief. To make an appointment, call us at (410) 296-6232 or request an appointment online.