CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is a medical condition that occurs when the median nerve is compressed. The median nerve is located in the upper arm and near the shoulders and is the only nerve to pass the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway of ligaments and bones. The carpal tunnel is located at the base of the hands and it houses the median nerve and the tendons that aid the fingers when bending. The function of the median nerve is to innervate or supply the hands with nerves that will allow the brain to control the movement of the arms, forearm and the hands. It also provides sensation to the skin of the palm side of the index, the thumb, and middle finger, ring finger and the nail bed.
Because of an injury or an inflammation of the lining of irritated tendons or ligaments, this can lead to the narrowing of the carpal tunnel which leads to the median nerve being pressed. This will in return cause tingling, numbness and even pain in the hand, wrist, fingers and sometimes the arm and the forearms.
The signs and symptoms of the carpal tunnel will depend on the severity of the compression, the systems affected and what syndromes are developed.
- Gradual burning, tingling or itching in the palm of the hand and fingers and more apparent in the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
- The sensation of fingers being swollen though no swelling is apparent
- Severe tingling that can often happen during the day
- Decreased strength when gripping, difficulty in grasping for small objects
- It left untreated, the muscles at the base of the thumb can waste away
- Inability to distinguish hot and cold by touch
The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome can be attributed to several risk factors.
- Trauma or injury to the wrist that will cause swelling
- Sprain or fracture
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hyperactive pituitary gland
- Work stress and work-related injuries such as the use of vibrating hand tools
- Fluid retention
- Tumor or cyst growth in the canal
If you think you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).