Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Have you been noticing pain in your hands and wrists lately, along with your fibromyalgia pain? Do your fingers ever feel tingly or numb? If so, then you may be suffering from a condition that is often associated with fibromyalgia, called carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect how well you are able to use your arms, hands, and wrists and, if severe, can even be debilitating. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also exacerbate your other fibromyalgia symptoms.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition that affects your wrists, hands, and arms. It is caused by the compression of one of your main nerves, called the median nerve, which runs from you forearm, through your wrist, and into your hand. The median nerve is found inside a cavity in your arm called the carpal tunnel, and this is how the syndrome gets its name. Sometimes, this median nerve becomes squeezed at the wrist, resulting in symptoms of pain and numbness.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming more and more common in today’s society. This is because of the continuous strain that we are putting on our wrists, hands, and arms. As we spend more time in front of the computer, playing video games, or working on the assembly line, health care providers are seeing more cases of carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, about 10% of the American population suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be wondering why your median nerve is being compressed inside your wrist. Well, there are actually a number of reasons as to why this may be happening. Sometimes, bone spurs or other abnormalities of the wrists or arms compress the median nerve.
Genetics also tends to play a role in carpal tunnel syndrome - some people are just born with narrower carpal tunnels, which results in compression of the median nerve. Most often though, carpal tunnel is the result of swollen tendons that surround the median nerve in your wrist. As these tendons become more swollen, they press down on the median nerve causing pain. Tendons can become swollen due to:
- repetitive motions, such as keyboarding, sewing, or knitting
- the use of power tools
- injury to the wrists, hands, or forearms