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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Swelling of tissue in the carpal tunnel due to injury or fluid changes in your body
- Hereditary narrow carpal tunnel
- Tumors (rare)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Activities with repetitive hand motions:
- Certain sports
- Playing musical instruments
- Assembly tasks
Water retention from:
- Heart failure
- Kidney problems
- Wrist injury:
- Raynaud disease and phenomenon , which impairs blood flow in the hands
- Hormone-related conditions, which may include:
Medications, which may include:
- Birth control pills
- Cortisone pills or shots
- Some high blood pressure medications
- Tingling, burning, or numbness, especially in your thumb and index or middle fingers
Pain or numbness that worsens with:
- Wrist, hand, or finger movement
- Sleep—symptoms may wake you
Hand stiffness or cramping that gets better after:
- Shaking your hand
- Waking up in the morning
Weakness or clumsiness of your hand:
- Loss of grip strength
- Difficulty making a fist
- Frequently dropping things
- Pain that moves up your arm
- Electrodiagnostic exam —Measures and records the speed of electrical conduction in your median nerve to see if the nerve impulse in the hand is delayed
- MRI scan —A test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside your body, in this case the neck
- X-ray —A test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside your body, especially bones
- Ultrasound—A test that uses sound waves to measure the width of your median nerve (may be used as a screening test or to guide injections)
Rest, Ice, Elevation, and Exercises
- Rest your wrist by keeping it straight and decreasing activities that worsen pain.
- Gently apply ice packs to the area.
- Elevate the hand above your heart to reduce swelling.
- Do exercises as directed by a healthcare provider.
A Wrist Splint
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Injection of cortisone into the carpal tunnel
- Minimizing repetitive hand movements when possible.
- Alternating between activities or tasks to reduce the strain on your body.
- Keeping your wrists straight when you are using them. Let your arms and shoulders share the stress.
- Using your whole hand or both hands to pick up an item.
- Avoiding holding an object the same way for a long time.
- Following ergonomic practices in an office. Adjust your desk, chair, and keyboard so you are in the best possible position:
- Back straight
- Feet flat on the floor or resting on a footrest
- Knees level with or slightly lower than your hips
- Shoulders in a neutral position, not forward or back
- Elbows bent at a 90-degree angle
- Forearms parallel to the floor and wrists straight
Take breaks at least every hour to:
- Rest or shake your hands
- Massage your palms and backs of your hands
- Get regular aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming.
- Cut down on caffeine and smoking . These activities may reduce blood flow to your hands.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review BoardTeresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
- Review Date: 09/2017
- Update Date: 09/09/2014