Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition of the hand and wrist, affected by the median nerve that runs along the palm of the hand up to the forearm. When there is excess pressure placed on this nerve, it can cause the symptoms that are hallmark to this condition.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, women are three times more likely to develop this syndrome than their male counterparts. Regardless of your gender, though, it is important to know the symptoms so you can get proper treatment. Treatment may include a carpal tunnel procedure from a hand surgeon.
Less Severe Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Initial symptoms of the condition typically develop gradually. You may notice that you wake up in the morning with mild numbness or tingling of your hand, which are two of the most common carpal tunnel symptoms. These symptoms can also occur throughout the day, and may include an itchy type of numbness in your fingers or the palm of your hand. You might notice it more often on your index and middle fingers, while others only have it on their thumbs.
There can also be a burning sensation along with the numbness and tingling, which happens on the fingers and of the hand and wrist area when that median nerve gets pinched or inflamed. Individuals who have the condition may notice that their symptoms seem worse at certain times of the day. The need to “shake out” your hand to stop the sensations is another common symptom of a carpal tunnel condition.
Severe Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
For some people, the symptoms progress beyond being a mild annoyance, and become severe. With severe carpal tunnel syndrome, your symptoms are elevated, and often get in the way of work and sleep due to the tingling and numbness. You may need hand surgery if the condition reaches this point.
The severe symptoms go beyond just tingling and mild numbness, but can cause wasting away of the muscles in your hand. This causes atrophy, which reduces your ability to have strength in your grip. You may also have other symptoms that are more extreme, including severe pain and more frequent cramping of the hand. You might also feel the impulses of the nerve more oftens. In addition, the severe numbness might make it hard to tell the difference between hot and cold temperatures.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention and see a hand specialist. Numbness and tingling may seem minor, but if you don’t receive early treatment, the carpal tunnel syndrome can worsen and lead to permanent loss of strength or other severe side effects of the condition.