The Carpal tunnel can be found along the palm side, and it is a narrow passageway of ligaments and bones. Carpal tunnel syndrome usually occurs once the median nerve becomes squeezed at the wrist. This compression is caused by swelling or inflammation inside your wrist. The median nerve can be found on the carpal tunnel. The median nerve is responsible for the fingers’ (index finger, thumb, long finger, a portion of the ring finger) ability to feel. When the median nerve experience extreme pressure, one can feel symptoms like tingling, numbness, and arm and hand weakness. People suffering from Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect one or both of the hands.
The treatment for this condition varies according to the severity of your carpal tunnel pain and other symptoms. The Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommended in their 2008 treatment guidelines that carpal tunnel syndrome be managed without surgery if possible. Nonsurgical methods include medication for reducing inflammation, prohibiting wrist movement, and wearing a wrist splint. Also, injecting steroids in the carpal tunnel area reduces inflammation and manages underlying conditions like arthritis or diabetes.
This article explores the common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. Medical Conditions
The excess pressure on the median nerve and in the wrist causes inflammation. Underlying health conditions are the most common root of this inflammation. There are medical conditions the obstruct blood flow and rapid swelling in the wrist.Some common conditions associated with carpal tunnel wrist include thyroid dysfunction, high blood pressure, kidney failure, diabetes, lymphedema, fractures on the wrist, fluid retention from menopause or pregnancy, and autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis. Diabetes and other nerve-damaging conditions increase the risk of median nerve damage, hence, promoting carpal tunnel syndrome. Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions can inflame the tendon lining in the wrist and compress the median nerve.
2. Repeated overextension of wrist
Swelling and compression of your median nerve occur when your wrist is at repeated motion. If the wrist is repeatedly overextended, carpal tunnel pain persists. Repeated overextension of wrist often comes from the wrist’s position such as: when you are using your mouse and keyboard; long hours of using power tools or hand tools that produce vibration; and any movement that needs a repeated extension of the wrist like playing the piano.
3. Age and Sex
Generally, this condition is more common among women. It is attributed to the fact that the carpal tunnel area of women is relatively smaller than men. Women who don’t have the condition may have bigger carpal tunnels than women who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Research suggests that the female population is three times more likely to be affected by this condition than men. In terms of age, carpal tunnel syndrome is common in adults between 30 and 60.
4. Lifestyle Factors
Lifestyle and diet can be a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome. People who smoke and have a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of developing the condition. Obesity and high salt intake are known risk factors for developing this condition.
5. Nature of Work
Jobs that require repetitive wrist movement can put pressure on the carpal tunnel wrist. Some of these jobs are construction work, manufacturing, keyboarding occupations, and assembly line work. People involved with these lines of occupation have an increased risk of acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome. As mentioned above, the use of vibrating tools needs a prolonged and repetitive extension of your wrist. It may lead to painful squeezing in the median nerve that can worsen nerve damage that’s already there. It is mostly applicable if the work is done in a cold environment, and repetitively uses hands like typing.
6. Anatomic Factors
As mentioned earlier, people with small carpal tunnels have an increased possibility of acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome. Other anatomic factors like a wrist dislocation or fracture may deform the small bones in the wrist. This condition can change the space within the carpal tunnel and compress the median nerve.
Some research explored the relationship between carpal tunnel syndrome and anastrozole intake (Arimidex), an oral medication for treating breast cancer. According to the studies, a higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome was noted by women who use anastrozole (Arimidex).