carpal tunnel symptoms causes

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel symptoms can include wrist pain and can lead to permanent nerve damage. Learn more here.

Table of Contents

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that occurs as a result of the compression of the carpal tunnel median nerve as it passes through the wrist into the hand.1

The median nerve is a nerve that can be found on the side of the palms, and it is a very important nerve as it is responsible for the provision of motor and sensory functions to the thumb, long finger, index finger and part of the ring finger.2 The median nerve also controls the functioning of some muscles located in the lower part of the thumb. This means that anything that affects the condition of your carpal tunnel nerve will affect your ability to enjoy maximum mobility and sensation in your fingers.3

What Does the Carpal Tunnel Include?

The carpal tunnel is a somewhat narrow and stiff passageway that houses the median nerve and some other tendons responsible for controlling the bending of the fingers. The hand carpal tunnel is made of a “combination” of ligaments and bones situated at the base of the hands. You have a carpal tunnel in the wrist of both your hands, so while wrist pain from median nerve compression in the carpal tunnel in one hand is more common, it is possible to have a carpal tunnel diagnosis in both hands.
The compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel in the wrist usually results from carpal tunnel swelling. This carpal tunnel swelling is usually characterized by wrist pain and, if not treated, may develop into severe carpal tunnel syndrome, which could cause irreversible nerve damage and loss of mobility and sensations in fingers.4

Who is At Risk For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel pain can occur in anyone in the face of the right triggers and suitable conditions. However, some individuals are, by nature or virtue of their job, more exposed to carpal tunnel risk factors, so they are at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel pain.
Carpal tunnel wrist pain is three times as likely to affect women than men. Also, individuals with metabolic conditions (such as diabetes) that directly influence the state of health of the body’s nerves are more likely to develop carpal tunnel wrist pain.

Risk Factors

Carpal tunnel syndrome risk factors also include people who work in places where they need to carry out assembly line tasks such as cleaning, sewing, manufacturing, and even meatpacking. This is because there is an increased chance that people performing these kinds of tasks will injure or put too much strain on their wrist, which could cause swellings in the carpal tunnel in the wrist, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Aside from the risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several reasons why carpal tunnel disease can occur, and being aware of them is important. Some carpal tunnel causes include the following:
  • Frequent, repetitive, small movements with the hands
  • Frequent, repetitive, grasping movements with the hands
  • Joint or bone disease
  • Hormonal or metabolic changes 
  • Changes in blood sugar levels 
  • Family history of carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

As earlier mentioned, successful carpal tunnel syndrome treatment and prevention of permanent nerve damage relies heavily on early carpal tunnel diagnosis, so knowing what symptoms are early on is an important step in getting the diagnosis and help you or a loved one may need.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can include the following:
  • Carpal tunnel tingling, burning, or itching 
  • Carpal tunnel numbness 
  • Weakness in your hand and trouble holding things
  • Shock-like feelings that move into your fingers
  • Tingling that moves up into your arm

How Often is Hand Pain Caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in a wide range of people because carpal tunnel symptoms causes are quite widespread. As a result, many individuals are under the impression that carpal tunnel symptoms are always responsible for the occurrence of hand or wrist pain. However, it has to be said that not every occurrence of wrist pain or hand pain is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.

Conditions that Lead to Hand Discomfort or Pain

There are several other conditions that can cause hand pain. Some of these conditions include:
  • De Quervain’s Tendinosis: This is a medical condition that occurs when the “sheath” that houses tendons running from the wrist to the hands gets compressed. This condition causes wrist pain and tenderness, which becomes very noticeable when you make a fist or rotate your wrist.5
  • Trigger Finger: Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition caused by inflammation of tendons in the hands. It usually causes pain and tenderness and affects finger flexibility.6
  • Arthritis: Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, is a condition that usually causes hand pain and numbness. However, instead of carpal tunnel symptoms causes that directly affect nerve health and cause nerve pain, it affects the joints of the wrist.7

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

One thing that complicates carpal tunnel syndrome treatment is that it can be quite challenging to diagnose accurately. This is because carpal tunnel symptoms are diverse, and this condition has symptoms similar to other medical health conditions, as stated above. Diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome involves conducting several carpal tunnel tests to determine areas like carpal tunnel pain location and rule out any other possible causes for the wrist pain and other symptoms.

Medical Tests that Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Tests for carpal tunnel syndrome include the following:
  • Medical professionals conduct a physical examination of hands and arms to detect symptoms like a swollen hand and determine the exact carpal tunnel pain location.
  • X-rays and laboratory tests ascertain that the pain is due to carpal tunnel syndrome, not fractures or arthritis.
  • Your doctor may also recommend ultrasound imaging to be able to examine the state and size of the median nerve.

How Can I Treat Wrist Pain at Home?

carpal tunnel symptoms causes
Although you may be able to take care of mild wrist pains at home by massaging your wrist with balms and using pain killers, it is vital that you still visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis because you never know what the actual cause of the wrist pain is. It’s essential you get the kind of quality care you need as soon as possible to prevent permanent nerve damage.

Prevention Methods

There are also several ways you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. They include:
  • Building bone strength
  • Preventing falls
  • Using protective gear for athletic activities
  • Paying attention to ergonomics

Get Treatment For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome At J. Flowers Health

Are you currently experiencing recurrent wrist pain? You may be experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, so it’s best you get an accurate diagnosis and proper carpal tunnel syndrome treatment as soon as possible.

At J. Flowers Health, you will have access to all the quality care and treatment you need to take care of carpal tunnel syndrome effectively. We have a supportive approach to ensuring patient health and wellness, so you’ll be able to achieve excellent treatment results.