What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can affect almost anyone but some people have a much greater risk than others. Regardless of who suffers from it, the true cause needs to be addressed to be addressed to provide relief. Below are some of the most common causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Hormones: Hormonal changes can cause swelling or inflammation, putting pressure on the median nerve. These changes can be from: pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, birth control pills, hormone imbalance, diabetes, hypothyroid, kidney disease, lymphedema, etc.
Medications: Certain medications can increase also the risk for CTS. These medications include anastrozole (used to treat breast cancer); diphosphonates (used to treat osteoporosis), and oral anticoagulants (blood thinners), to name a few. If you are experiencing CTS symptoms and are taking any of these medications, be sure to tell your medical doctor about it.
Trauma: Acute trauma like broken bones and wrist sprains or strains can sometimes lead to CTS. However, the most common traumatic cause of CTS is repetitive stress injuries. People in professions ranging from secretaries to computer programmers and heavy equipment workers can experience CTS symptoms.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects as much as 4% of the US population
Anatomy: Just like people, not all wrists are created the same. People with smaller frames can have a narrower carpal tunnel (made up of the scaphoid, trapezium, hamate and pisiform bones) increases the risk of median nerve irritation.
Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause spurs to form that can out pressure on the median nerve. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints and lining around tendons. This can also put pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel.
Work Environment: Workplace factors that contribute to CTS include cold environment, heavy vibration, and awkward neck, arm, or hand positions. Any of the above combined with prolonged periods of activity with no breaks are red flags. Jobs requiring fast, repetitive, gripping or pinching activities, can increase the risk of CTS by up to 2.5 times.
Other Musculoskeletal Conditions: The median nerve can also be compressed in the neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, or wrist. Pressure at any of these points can stimulate CTS like symptoms in the hand and wrist. It is common to have pressure on the median nerve in one of these areas as well.
We take a complete health history and examine the cervical spine, shoulder, elbow and wrist. It is important to know what causes carpal tunnel syndrome if you want to fix it. We identify every possible factor that could be causing your CTS symptoms. If you are experiencing wrist pain, numbness, or weakness, contact our office today to find the cause of your problem. Our team works together to provide the best possible treatment plan for your specific problem.