According to the Mayo Clinic, 'Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive painful hand and arm condition cause by a pinched nerve (median nerve) in your wrist.'
The most common symptoms that indicate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may be developing include tingling, numbness or even itching. Typically these symptoms are distributed throughout the thumb, index and middle fingers.
As the symptoms worsen, swelling, loss of coordination, sensory deficits and weakness may occur. This is an indicator that the syndrome is worsening in most cases.
People with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will often feel the need to shake the hands and arms in an attempt to regain the 'feeling' in them. This may help alleviate the symptoms temporarily but once the activating leading to the issue is resumed, the symptoms will quickly return.
While there are obvious causes such as a traumatic injury of the wrist that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, more often than not there is no exact cause of the CTS condition that can be identified. Nonetheless, for anyone who performs that requires repetitive hand and wrist motion or activities that exert direct and sustained pressure on the wrist (and hence the median nerve), those potentially causative factors will usually be named as the culprits.
Repetitive activities could have included essentially a million different activities within many different job descriptions. Activities like typing on a keyboard, assembling small parts, folding boxes on an assembly line, swinging a hammer or using a multitude of specific tools could often be the underlying factor that leads to CTS.
Other common conditions that can lead to the syndrome that are not physical or mechanical in nature include arthritis, pregnancy, diabetes, obesity and even thyroid issues; typically hypothyroidism in particular.
Another common contributing factor to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome type symptoms is inflammation or compromise of the nerves that go to the wrist at the point in the neck where they exit the spine (often referred to as a 'pinched nerve' in the neck). While this condition is not technically carpal tunnel syndrome, it may mimic it by causing similar symptoms. If you have pain or stiffness in the neck in addition to the wrist pain, it's imperative to have the spell checked in addition to the wrist.
I often find patients that present with carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms to also have areas of their spine that are out of position. Mroe often than not, once the spinal bones in the neck are realigned the CTS condition improves dramatically.
One often overlooked contributor to CTS is the position of the wrists while and arms while working and even sleeping. People that report carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms often report that they sleep with the wrists flexed (bent down or forward). While this in and of itself may not cause carpal tunnel syndrome, it can definitely exacerbate the problem.
Once you, or you and your local chiropractor , physical therapist or other person knowledgable in ergonomics have determined what is reasonably leading to the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, it's now time to take action and correct or eliminate the underlying causative factors.
The quicker you make the changes to eliminate the factors contributing to the CTS symptoms the sooner you will be on your way to a life with less wrist and hand pain.