Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in New Jersey
The nerves of your wrist can be trapped by an inflammation of the carpal tunnel, resulting in pain and stiffness. At Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township, our physicians and physical therapists specialize in treatments for the residents of New Jersey, who live with carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a thin track positioned within the inner portion of the wrist. This passage safeguards the tendons that allow the fingers to bend and the major nerve leading to the hand. The constriction of this nerve triggers the tingling and numbness, symptoms that will, in time, bring on weakness in the hand.
Some factors play a role in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as the anatomy of a patient’s wrist, existing health conditions, and potentially, patterns in the way the hands are used.
In most cases, people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome can get relief from these uncomfortable symptoms and regain functional use of their hands and wrists if they seek proper treatment.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
A mixture of health problems and activity involving the hands and wrists causes compression of the main nerve, and it is the constriction of that nerve that prompts the symptoms. Anything that causes a reduction in the space inside the carpal tunnel, an increase in tissue volume inside the tunnel or heightened sensitivity of the main nerve can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other factors that contribute to this condition include:
- Health problems that cause arm pain swelling in the joints and soft arm tissue, or decreased blood flow to the hands. These conditions may include obesity, lupus and diabetes.
- Repetitive motion of the wrists and hands. This can trigger inflammation in the membranes encircling the tendons.
- Dislocated or broken wrist bones in addition to bone spurs can reduce the amount of space inside the carpal tunnel, applying pressure to the main nerve.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically seen in workplaces where employees are exposed to hand- arm vibration, engage in repetitive hand movements, or work long hours in stationary or awkward stances.
- Cervical dysfunction can often times present as carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly when the condition is bilateral.
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
With carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms present themselves gradually, beginning with numbing and tingling sensations affecting the index and middle fingers and the thumb. These sensations may also cause irritation in the hand and wrist. Additional symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome could include:
- Tingling or numbness in hands or fingers, particularly in the region of the thumb and all of the fingers except the little finger. These feelings may occur while holding a phone or driving, and might cause the patient to wake from sleeping. These sensations begin at the wrist and run the full length of the arm. Some may try shaking their arms in an effort to alleviate the symptoms, but as the condition worsens, the numbing sensation may become incessant.
- Weakness in the hands may cause a patient to routinely drop objects. This could be because the pinching muscles in the thumbs have become weakened, or due to numbness in the hands.
Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many factors can heighten a person’s risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Health conditions that reduce blood flow to the hands.
- Inflammation of the joints and the soft tissue inside the arm.
- Being a woman – the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome is highest for females who are between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Repetitive motion of the wrists and hands.
- Being a smoker.
- Broken or dislocated bones in the wrist, bone spurs or bone growth associated with healing.
- Tumors or other kinds of growths like ganglions.
- Routine wear and tear due to aging.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed following a review of the patient’s medical history and a physical exam, during which the strength of both hands are tested and then compared. An EMG is often indicated and identifies a reduction in nerve impulses due to compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. Patients may also fill out a hand diagram to indicate where they are experiencing the pain, tingling or numbness. It is important that the patient be accurately diagnosed as surgical correction may be unnecessary and not indicated. Our physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation are experts at helping to differentially diagnose the cause of hand/wrist pain, tingling, and/or numbness.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common wrist and hand problem, especially amongst people in certain occupations. If you are experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, contact us to schedule a personal consultation with one of our physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township in New Jersey.