5 Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually. First, you may experience hand numbness and tingling when you first wake up in the morning that you easily shake off. However, carpal tunnel syndrome tends to get worse over time. As your condition progresses, you may start to experience numbness, tingling, and even burning and muscle weakness in your hand during the day that you can’t just shake off. 

Getting an early diagnosis and treatment plan for your carpal tunnel syndrome may help prevent symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day activities. At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our orthopedic specialists, Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi and Dr. Matthew Roh, offer many effective solutions to treat your carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Still, you may wonder what caused your carpal tunnel syndrome in the first place. Knowing some of the underlying causes of the common source of hand pain may help you better understand the condition and the recommended treatments. Here are five of those causes.

1. Genetics

The tingling and numbness you feel in your hand occurs when the median nerve, one of the main nerves in your hand, gets compressed or pinched as it passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist to your hand. Though the compression may be caused by any number of factors, it’s possible your carpal tunnel passageway is genetically small and your carpal tunnel syndrome is due to this inherited trait.

2. Your medical history

Certain medical conditions may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Diabetes, for example, may lead to nerve damage that affects the median nerve. Thyroid disorders, kidney failure, and an overactive pituitary gland are also linked to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. The autoimmune disorder affects the lining of your joints, causing swelling and inflammation that may affect your wrist and the carpal tunnel.

3. Injury to the wrist

An injury to your wrist, such as a sprain or fracture, may also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries trigger your body’s healing system, which may lead to swelling and inflammation that affects the nerve as it passes through your wrist to your hand. 

4. Side effect of pregnancy

Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. In addition to your growing belly, your blood volume doubles during pregnancy to support you and your baby’s needs. Extra fluids in your body, however, increase your risk of swelling.

One of the unfortunate side effects of the extra fluid during pregnancy is carpal tunnel syndrome. Although you may develop the hand pain condition at any point during your pregnancy, it most often occurs during the third trimester. The good news is that your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms should resolve after giving birth. 

5. Activities performed at your job

Yes, your work activities may play a role in the development of your carpal tunnel syndrome. The hand condition isn’t confined to a single industry, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, but it’s more common in people who engage in assembly line work. This type of work requires repeated wrist motions that may place too much pressure on the nerve. 

Although there are many potential reasons you’re experiencing hand numbness, tingling, and weakness, carpal tunnel syndrome usually develops from a combination of factors, not one single cause. The good news is that our team at Orthopedics & Wellness offers many effective treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome — nonsurgical and surgical — to reduce the pressure on your median nerve and alleviate your symptoms. 

To schedule an evaluation and to discuss your treatment options, contact us by phone or book an appointment online today.

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