Carpal tunnel is a condition affecting the median nerve as it crosses into the palm via the wrist. When the nerve is compressed, you feel a pins-and-needles sensation at the tips of the affected fingers. So, what does carpal tunnel feel like? Read on.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist. This nerve serves the thumb, index, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. In addition, you might feel pain in the hand and wrist as well as a loss of swollen fingers.
However, sometimes the nerve becomes compressed in a narrow space in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel.
The nerve can become compressed due to the following:
- Repetitive hand or wrist movements: Activities involving repetitive hand or wrist movements, such as typing or assembly line work, can strain the median nerve and lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Anatomical factors: Some people are more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome due to the shape of their wrist or hand. For example, individuals with smaller wrist bones or thicker wrist ligaments may be at higher risk.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems, can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy can cause fluid retention, leading to swelling in the wrist and pressure on the median nerve.
- Trauma or injury: Fractures or sprains in the wrist can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
It’s important to note that a combination of these factors can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. In some cases, the exact cause may need to be clarified. However, despite the cause, individuals with carpal tunnel feel similar symptoms.
What Does Carpal Tunnel Feel Like?
Median nerve compression causes several symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Additionally, you might feel these symptoms come and go. However, in some cases, the symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with daily activities, such as writing, typing, or holding utensils.
So, what does carpal tunnel feel like? When your median nerve becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist, you can feel a variety of symptoms, including:
- Numbness in the fingers, especially the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
- A tingling or a burning sensation in the affected fingers where it feels like pins and needles
- Pain or discomfort in the wrist, hand, or arm
- Your affected fingers and hand feel swollen even when they appear normal
- Weakness or lack of coordination in the hand or affected fingers affects your ability to perform fine motor skills.
- Your grip strength declines, making it difficult to carry out routine tasks around the house and crucial duties at work.
- Waking up at night with numbness or tingling in the hand
These symptoms may be mild at first and may come and go, but they can become more frequent and severe if the condition is not treated. In such a situation, you might completely lose sensation in your hand and fingers.
Treating Carpal Tunnel At The Harley Clinic
Speaking with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and discussing the best treatment options for your specific case is crucial. Options include medication, carpal tunnel release surgery and non-surgical methods like wearing a splint and hand therapy.
If you’re looking for a solution to the numbness in your fingers and hand, schedule an appointment with a hand specialist at The Harley Clinic.