Carpel tunnel symptoms – the outward signs of the medical condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome – are well known and
easy to describe: hand and wrist pain, a tingling sensation in the fingers, some numbness in the hands and loss of manual dexterity.
So Let’s Start With Your Symptoms
The symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are easy to describe. They practically always involve wrist pain, tingling in the fingers and numbness the hand. The pain usually appears in the dominant hand first.
The wrist pain and other symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develop over a period of weeks, sometimes months. They usually begin with a tingling or burning sensation in the thumb and first 3 fingers of the hand – but not the little finger. There will be wrist pain and numbness in the hand itself.
The pain will get worse when you use your hand – gripping an object or flexing your wrist. But it may also awaken you at night. Shaking your hands and fingers will help relieve some of the pain.
You may also find an ache in the forearm and/or a shooting pain running up your arm into the shoulder and neck.
As the disorder progresses, the feeling of numbness may become constant. There will be a loss of manual dexterity and your strength of grip weakens; it becomes difficult to grip objects firmly. As the condition progresses further:
Simple hand movements, such as brushing your hair or holding a knife and fork become difficult;
You may accidentally drop things; your hand coordination and grip ability becomes a problem;
There is a loss of pinch strength – pinching an object between your thumb and first finger;
It becomes difficult to open a jar or use a screwdriver – further loss of grip strength;
In the longer term, the thumb muscles can get smaller and weaker – they start to atrophy.
So the symptoms themselves are easy to identify, easy to describe and easy to understand. Does that mean it’s carpal tunnel syndrome? NO!
Unfortunately, these symptoms are also the symptoms shown by other conditions – conditions that can mimic the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome very closely. These include: injury to the bones, muscles, ligaments or tendons; nerve problems in the fingers, elbow neck or shoulder; arthritis in the thumb joint or wrist.
Pain in the hand, wrist and forearm can be caused by tendinitis, tendinosis and a number of other stress related muscular conditions.
Numbness in the hand and wrist can be caused by muscular knots (myofascial trigger points) in the forearam.
The same symptoms can also be caused by muscular problems that originate in the neck and shoulder.
Issues with the pectoralis minor muscle in the shoulder will give exactly the same symptoms as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There is pressure on the nerve but the brain cannot tell precisely where, along the nerve path, the pressure is being exerted.
You may not have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at all …. it could easily be another condition that is being mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome.
For more information on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the medical conditions that mimic the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome …
What is carpal tunnel syndrome;
What are the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome; what causes the pain;
What underlying predispositions make one susceptible to carpal tunnel; syndrome;
Problems of diagnosis;
Or to go straight to our review of treatments …