Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a set of symptoms caused by the compression of the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel. This unusual pressure leads to several symptoms, from simple discomfort to intense pain. According to the stage of this condition, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome progress.
What are the first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
The median nerve runs along the forearm, continues in the inner half of the palm and ends in the four first fingers: thumb, index and middle finger, and half of the ring finger. This explains why you feel the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome manifest in your hand, even though the problem happens in your wrist.
Neurological symptoms of CTS at night
The first symptoms appear in the aforementioned fingers, those connected to the median nerve. You can feel a loss of sensitivity, a feeling of numbness, tingling and pain. They are usually worse at night because of the prolonged extreme flexions or extensions of the wrist you do unconsciously or if you sleep with your hand under your pillow, for example. If not eradicated, they disturb your sleep and can gradually reduce your quality of life.
They progressively stop when you move your wrist again or shake your hand. As you change your position, the compression reduces along with the symptoms.
Carpal tunnel: symptoms in the hands during the day
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand can also appear during the day.
Indeed, many movements put stress on the median nerve like inappropriate wrist position: repetitive or prolonged twisting, flexion, extension and movements that require strength (e.g: ironing, reading…). Combined with cold temperatures or vibrations, these factors highly contribute to developing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms can manifest discontinuously, with periods of attacks and periods of calm. Also, they can disappear spontaneously, especially if postural habits are improved.
During pregnancy, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in the hands develop in the third quarter and disappear after childbirth.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome at advanced stages?
If habits are not changed (wrist splints and braces, correction of postures, etc.), the symptoms may worsen. The ability to grab things decreases and frequently, people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome suddenly drop objects because of a decrease or loss of strength in the muscles at the base of the thumb. This is typical of a median nerve damage. Pain increases, attacks can intensify and multiply.
How to ease the pain in the hands, wrists and fingers caused by CTS?
Without a fast-acting treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, the healing process can become complicated, even impossible. You understand the importance of consulting a doctor as soon as the first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome appear.
Different solutions can be suggested to soothe pain and recover full abilities: exercises and physical therapy, regular wear of a brace for day, use of a brace that immobilises at night, injections, surgical intervention...
EPITACT® has developed two braces designed to relieve the symptoms of CTS. The flexible wrist brace CARP'ACTIV™* aims to support your wrist during activities. It reduces involuntary movements that contribute to the onset of the condition.
The rigid wrist brace CARP'IMMO™* is used at night to avoid traumatic movements or pressures on the carpal tunnel. It immobilises the wrist in a neutral position to limit the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Even if the dominant hand is commonly affected, carpal tunnel syndrome frequently concerns both hands. Some figures prove it: 20% of patients who had surgery for the carpal tunnel syndrome had their other hand affected too.
At both the mild and severe stage of carpal tunnel syndrome, symptoms are very disabling and progressively reduce your ability to do daily activities and your quality of life. To avoid it, some prevention tools exist. Find out in another article how to prevent the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
*These solutions are medical devices that bear the CE marking under this regulation. Carefully read the instructions before use. Manufacturer: MILLET Innovation. 10/2021