Perhaps you were given the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and lately you’ve been more aware of the pain and discomfort in your wrists and hands along with the pain and discomfort of the condition of fibro.
If you’ve also been experiencing tingling and numbness along with the pain and discomfort in your wrists and hands, you may be dealing with the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome– which is often associated with the condition of fibro.
One of the major problems with the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome is that it can have an effect on the way you use your hands, wrists, and arms.
If you have a severe case of this condition, it can possibly be debilitating. Finally, the condition of carpal tunnel can cause the other signs and symptoms of your fibro to become worse.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Defined
The condition of carpal tunnel syndrome, also called CTS, is a very painful one that has an effect on your hands, arms, and wrists. It is the result of one of your main nerves, called the median nerve, being compressed.
The median nerve runs from your forearm, through your wrist, and into your hand. There is a cavity inside of your arm, referred to as the carpal tunnel, which the median nerve runs through.
This is typically where the nerve will become compressed- leading to numbness and pain, and therefore, this is where the condition gets its name.
In today’s fast-paced, busy society, the number of people dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome is increasing. In fact, it is becoming quite common.
This is due to the fact that we are putting more and more stress and strain on our arms, wrists, and hands.
After all, we’re spending more and more time on our computers, working on an assembly line, and even playing video games.
Medical providers are reporting an increase in the instances of the condition of carpal tunnel, with as many as 10 percent of the population in America suffering with it.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you are suffering with CTS, chances are that you are probably wondering what is causing your median nerve to become compressed.
The truth is that there are probably several reasons this could be happening to you. First of all, you may have a bone spur or other abnormality if your arm or wrist that is causing the median nerve to become compressed.
In addition, it is possible that genetics plays a role in the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome. There are some individuals that are born with a narrow carpal tunnel, which results in the median nerve becoming compressed.
However, the typical cause for the condition of carpal tunnel is that the tendons around your median nerve become swollen. As the tendons become swollen, they press on the median nerve more and more, which leads to pain.
Your tendons can become swollen due to the following:
- Use of power tools
- Injury to hands
- Injury to writs
- Repetitive motions
- Injury to forearms
Who is at Risk for Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, male or female, everyone is potentially at risk for developing the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, there are some specific risk factors that could increase your risk for developing carpal tunnel, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Fibromyalgia and Carpal Tunnel
Individuals with the condition of fibro are also at an increased risk for developing the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Recent studies also suggest that women with the condition of fibro are much more likely to develop carpal tunnel than women who do not suffer from fibro.
Medical experts state that up to 55 percent of individuals with the condition of fibro also have the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome.
This is more than five times greater than the risk for everyone else. It is not clear why individuals with fibro are more likely to develop carpal tunnel, but it could be due to the fact that fibro is characterized by tender points or that there are more pain messages sent by the brain in those individuals with fibro.
Experts say that it is possible that the condition of carpal tunnel could be due to injuries resulting from improper posture.
Since they are in such excruciating pain, individuals with the condition of fibro often use their bodies awkwardly, resulting in injury.
Signs and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The truth is that the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome will become worse over time. Some of the signs and symptoms of this condition include the following:
- Pain/tingling in wrists/hands
- Shooting pains from wrists to shoulders
- Numbness in fingers
- Pain in wrists, hands, and arms at night
- Increased hand weakness
- Difficulty with grasping/picking up objects
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments
While it is true that the signs and symptoms of the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome are painful, treatments are often very effective. In fact, over 90 percent of individuals are able to completely recover with treatment.
- Applying ice can help reduce swelling and pain
- Rest your hand for a period of at least two weeks- you can wear a splint to keep your wrist stable and keep yourself from injuring it.
- OTC medications can be effective for reducing pain.
- Surgery, if no other treatments are working.
Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In most cases, the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome is easy to prevent. However, if you have the condition of fibro, you must also be aware of the condition of carpal tunnel and do everything you can to prevent it.
The condition of carpal tunnel syndrome can make the signs and symptoms of fibro seem to be even worse. Following are some ways that you can keep your wrists from developing CTS:
- Avoid repetitious tasks
- Adjust your chair so that arms are level with keyboard
- Stretch to loosen wrists
- Take breaks on a regular basis