Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Anyone is at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome – it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, young or old. However, there are certain risk factors that seem to increase your chances of developing the syndrome.

Risk factors include:

  • being female
  • being pregnant
  • having diabetes
  • having hyperthyroidism
  • having rheumatoid arthritis

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

People who suffer from fibromyalgia are also at increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, recent studies performed on fibromyalgia patients show that women with fibromyalgia are much more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome than those women who do not have fibromyalgia.

Up to 55% of all fibromyalgia patients have carpal tunnel syndrome. This percentage is more than five times greater than the risk for the general population.

It is unknown why so many fibromyalgia suffers have carpal tunnel syndrome. It may be due to the tender points caused by fibromyalgia or increased pain messages sent by the brain.

Carpal tunnel may also be the result of injuries caused by improper posture. Due to the debilitating pain, many fibromyalgia patients use their bodies and limbs awkwardly, which can result in injury.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms tend to escalate over time, gradually becoming worse and worse.

Symptoms include:

  • numbness in the fingers
  • pain or tingling in the wrists and hands
  • nighttime wrist, arm, and hand pain
  • shooting pains that travel from the wrist to the shoulder
  • increasing weakness in the hand
  • difficulty picking up or grasping objects 

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Though symptoms are painful, treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is typically very effective. In fact, more than 90% of sufferers recover completely.

  • The first step in treatment is allowing your wrist to rest for at least 2 weeks. Sometimes, a wrist splint can be worn to help keep your wrist in position and prevent injury.
  • Applying ice can help to reduce the swelling in your wrist, reducing pain symptoms.
  • Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are excellent for reducing carpal tunnel pain
  • For more serious pain, injections of corticosteroids can provide immediate relief
  • If your carpal tunnel syndrome is persistent, surgery may be your best option. During surgery your health care provider will cut the top of the carpal tunnel, stopping it from compressing the median nerve.

Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Most of the time, carpal tunnel syndrome is preventable. If you have fibromylaiga, it is especially important to be aware of CTS and work to prevent it.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes make the pain, fatigue, and disability of fibromyalgia even worse. Here are some easy tips to follow to keep your wrists free of pain.

  • Avoid repetitive tasks whenever possible.
  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your arms are level with your keyboard.
  • Take regular breaks during work periods
  • Do stretching exercises to loosen up those wrists
  • Lose some weight if you are overweight.
Table of Contents
1. Carpal Tunnel
2. Tips to prevent it
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