If you often work with your hands and frequently experience pain and numbness in them, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a nerve condition that can make your hands so weak that you can't grasp or hold onto anything. Here is what is causing your pain and what you can do to prevent it from getting worse.

An Irritated Nerve is the Problem

A large nerve runs down your forearm, through your wrist and into the palm of your hand. To get through the complicated array of bones in your wrist, an opening, called the carpal tunnel, allows the nerve to travel easily through. The carpal tunnel also protects the nerve from being damaged.

Should an injury or illness damage this opening or irritate the median nerve, the nerve can become inflamed and painful. Several situations can put pressure on the nerve, including:

  • degenerative bone diseases which cause the carpal tunnel to become smaller
  • repetitive motion injuries that cause muscles in your wrists to become inflamed
  • constant pressure on the wrists over the nerve while working

A typical cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is typing on a computer keyboard with the wrists resting against the edge of a desk. This puts pressure against the area where the median nerve travels.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When the nerve is first irritated, you'll feel a tingling sensation in your wrists and hands. If the irritation continues, you'll begin to feel numbness that can travel into your hands. When the pressure on the nerve is removed, the numbness and tingling goes away.

If the pressure persists and the carpal tunnel is damaged so it constantly irritates the nerve, you'll begin to have weakness in your hands. You may have difficulty picking up objects. You may have trouble holding onto items once you do pick them up. Eventually, your hands will feel like they have no strength at all in them.

Treating this Debilitating Hand and Wrist Condition

A visit to a neurological services and treatment center will verify the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and evaluate how severe the condition is. Your doctor will first offer some non-invasive approaches to treating the condition, such as:

  • anti-inflammatory pain medication to reduce the pain and swelling in your wrists and hands
  • physical therapy to stretch out muscles in the wrists and reduce inflammation
  • wrist splints to hold your wrists in a neutral position and remove irritation from the nerve

Should these approaches not give you enough relief, your doctor may recommend one of these surgical procedures:

  • enlargement of the carpal tunnel to give the nerve more room to move without irritation
  • reconstruction of the carpal tunnel if a degenerative bone disease has deformed that space

Contact a company like Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D. for more information.