Are you experiencing pain, burning or tingling in your hand? You could be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, one of the most common conditions among working adults. According to a recent article, women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Explained
The carpal tunnel is a thin channel made of bone and ligaments located along the bottom of the wrist. When this passage narrows or collapses, it squeezes the median nerve which helps control sensations and touch. Median nerve compression can cause symptoms of pain, burning or tingling in the thumb, fingers, hand and arm.
Why Are Women More Prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Anyone can develop carpal tunnel syndrome, but women are more likely to develop the condition than men. Perhaps this is due to hormonal changes that could affect fluid retention, especially during pregnancy or menopause. Swelling can reduce available space in the carpal tunnel and compress the median nerve.
An imbalance in the endocrine system like an underactive thyroid can also affect the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. According to American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of women will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetimes. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid issues, which could be a key factor in why more women have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Factors that Increase Your Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Besides hormonal imbalance, many factors can influence your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome including:
- Heredity — some peoples’ genes make them more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hypertension, diabetes or obesity — these conditions can increase fluid retention
- Overuse of the wrist — small, repetitive movements like typing, using a mouse or working on an assembly line can strain ligaments in the hand
- Mechanical problems in the wrist — rheumatoid arthritis and previous wrist injury can cause inflammation of the carpal tunnel
- Cyst or tumor — a growth can impinge the carpal tunnel
- Using vibrating hand tools
Call Your Doctor for a Carpal Tunnel Evaluation
Wrist and hand irritation can sometimes go away on its own. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, it is time to call a doctor:
- Burning, tingling or itchiness in the hand, palm or fingers (especially the thumb, index and middle finger)
- Dropping objects
- Decreased grip strength
- Sensation of swollen fingers
- Difficulty sensing hot and cold in the hand
- Sleeping with your wrists flexed
- Shaking your hands out after sleep
Do not let carpal tunnel restrict your lifestyle and schedule. One of our hand specialists can provide you a full evaluation and treatment plan so you can resume your normal activities without pain. Our doctors can prescribe a specific treatment catered to your unique needs, so call our office today to make an appointment.