Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause numbness, tingling,
and other symptoms in the hand and arm. It is usually caused when the
median nerve in your wrist is compressed and irritated. Most often, repetitive
hand motions are the cause of the condition; however, much about carpal
tunnel is still a mystery to modern medicine. There is no single cause
in many cases of carpal tunnel. In fact, it could be a combination of
risk factors that contribute to its development.
For example, if you fractured or injured your wrist in the past, it could
put you more at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, some
chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, increase your risk of nerve damage,
which could affect the median nerve. Carpal tunnel is generally also more
common in women, likely because women have a relatively smaller carpal
tunnel area. Workplace factors that cause you to repeat the same movement
over and over again, or use vibrating tools, can also increase your risk
of developing the condition.
However, some wonder whether or not awkwardly sleeping can contribute to
carpal tunnel syndrome. Sleeping incorrectly can cause all manners of
aches and pains in the neck, upper back, lower back, and arms. Can perpetual
awkward sleeping, therefore, create enough constant pressure on the median
nerve to cause permanent damage?
One study published by the American Association for Hand Surgery in 2010,
examined preferred sleep positions on the side and its association with
carpal tunnel syndrome. The scientists involved performed a case-control
study comparing people’s preference for sleep positions in 68 cases
and 168 controls. The analysis was also stratified by age and gender and
controlled for body mass index (BMI). They found there was a significant
correlation between a preference for sleeping on the side and the presence
of carpal tunnel syndrome in people less than 60 years of age. Likewise,
BMI was also associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, but only in women.
They concluded there was a strong connection between sleeping on one side
and the presence of the condition, suggesting that sleeping position
could lead to carpal tunnel but doesn’t prove a direct link.
If you wake up with tingling in your hands, consider buying a wrist splint
for sleeping. A split will prevent you from positioning your wrist awkwardly
and putting too much pressure on your median nerve. However, if your symptoms
are so severe you can’t button clothing, put on earrings, or touch
your thumb to your little finger, then the nerve could be degenerating.
If your nerve condition has reached this level, you should see a doctor
as soon as possible.
Carpal tunnel can usually be treated with cortisone injections to reduce
inflammation in the area, but some patients do end up needing either open
surgery or a minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. Make sure you get
your wrists examined. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be debilitating and difficult
to live with, particularly if you don’t get it treated.
If you need physical therapy or
massage therapy to relieve your pain, don’t hesitate to call us. Our
Aberdeen physical therapists would be happy to offer you dedicated and compassionate service.
Contact us at (732) 333-6360 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.