Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel such as numbness, tingling, pain, burning, and weakness in the arms and hands often, but not always, result from inflammation due to frequent, repetitive physical movements.
There are a number of things that can cause or put you at risk for developing CTS. These include:
- Genetic predisposition: Small bones or a small carpal canal increases the risk.
- Hormonal changes: For women, hormonal fluctuations increase the chances of the syndrome; pregnancy and menopause can be particularly problematic.
- Diseases: Conditions like arthritis, lupus, diabetes and obesity can lead to narrowing of the canal.
- Repetitive motions: Excessively doing activities like typing, using hand tools, gardening, golfing, sewing and massaging can repeatedly strain the area, causing localized inflammation and trauma.
The onset of symptoms may start gradually and become worse over time, especially if the same motions are repeated on a near daily basis. Even though some repetitive motions such as typing on the computer or using the phone are not strenuous activities in and of themselves, if performed often enough, the cumulative effect builds up. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to what is known as nocturnal awakenings, which refers to waking up in the middle of the night from pain and discomfort.