Running from your upper arm into your palm is the median nerve, an important nerve that regulates sensation to the palm side of your fingers (minus the little finger) and thumb. When this nerve becomes squeezed or compressed in the carpal tunnel (a narrow, bony passage in your wrist), numbness, weakness and pain can affect your hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel pain may also radiate up your arm and present symptoms similar to the left-arm pain sometimes accompanying a heart attack. Although carpal tunnel pain may recede on its own if whatever is causing median nerve inflammation stops, the majority of carpal tunnel conditions become chronic and require specialized treatment by a carpal tunnel doctor in NYC.
The tingling, pain and burning of carpal tunnel syndrome begins gradually but typically worsens even if repetitive motions responsible for the inflammation are ceased. If you have CTS, your fingers may feel swollen and stiff even though they are not noticeably swollen. You may wake up at night with numb hands that you must “shake out” before going back to sleep. During the day, your hands and fingers may tingle and you could experience reduced grip strength. In some untreated cases of CTS, thumb muscles have been known to atrophy. Others experience inability to distinguish cold or hot using their fingers or palm. Ultimately, people with neglected, severe carpal tunnel syndrome will probably need to consult with a carpal tunnel surgeon in NYC.
- Congenital predispositions, such as the carpal tunnel being narrower than normal
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Work stress (spending hours at a keyboard, constant use of vibrating, hand-held devices/tools, assembly/piecework)
- Tumor or cyst within the carpal tunnel canal
- Sprain or fracture to the wrist that induces swelling
- Menopause or pregnancy-related fluid retention
Certain diseases have also been correlated with development of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
Women have a higher risk than men of suffering carpal tunnel syndrome because the carpal tunnel may be narrower in women than in men. Primarily occurring in adults, CTS almost always affects the dominant hand.
Early diagnosis of CTS is vital to receiving appropriate treatment to prevent possible permanent injury to the median nerve. A physical examination of your arms, neck, shoulders and hands can help diagnose the cause of CPT by determining whether pain is due to an underlying disorder (hand-arm vibration syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome or other neuropathy) or daily activities.
Your wrist will be examined by your carpal tunnel doctor in Staten Island for swelling, warmth, discoloration and tenderness. Each of your fingers will also be tested for the ability to sense external stimuli. Your doctor may look closely at the hand muscles for signs of weakness or atrophy. Laboratory tests may be ordered to rule out fractures and certain diseases. Sometimes, a CTS diagnosis is confirmed using electrodiagnostic tests, ultrasound imaging or MRIs.
If you are suffering hand and wrist pain due to CTS, contact Regional Orthopedic today to schedule an appointment with carpal tunnel doctor in Jersey City who can help stop the pain and stiffness.