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How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel

How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel?

by Allison Sweeney, OTR/L1 Comment

In the United States, 1-3 per 1000 persons are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome Yearly. When identified and addressed early, carpal tunnel can be easily treated with therapy, splinting, exercises, and ergonomic modifications, preventing surgery. This blog will discuss common symptoms, causes, and treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common wrist diagnosis characterized by reports of numbness, tingling, “falling asleep sensation,” and sometimes pain in the hand and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist level. People suffering from carpal tunnel often experience difficulty with typing, lifting a cup, writing, or using their phone.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow space at the wrist right below the palm, where the hand connects to the wrist. The tunnel is created by the carpal (hand) bones and the transverse carpal ligament. The tendons of the forearm and the median nerve run through this tunnel and into the hand. When these tendons become inflamed or swollen, the carpal tunnel becomes overcrowded, and the extra pressure causes compression of the median nerve, disrupting the hand’s innervation.

This inflammation occurs as a result of overuse of the hand and wrist, specifically repetitive activities like typing or repeated gripping tasks. Another contributing factor can be sleep position. People who sleep with their wrists in a flexed position or with their hands in a fist can be prone to carpal tunnel syndrome because prolonged wrist flexion can disrupt the movement of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel. People who develop carpal tunnel syndrome from sleep positions often report waking up because their hands fall asleep in the middle of the night.

What Do You Do If You Think You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. Head to your local Athletico clinic for a free assessment with an Occupational Therapist to confirm your diagnosis and get you on the road to recovery! An Occupational Therapist can help guide you through stretching and strengthening exercises that help reduce pain and swelling. They can also assess your workstation, body mechanics, and sleep position to improve your ergonomics to prevent carpal tunnel from reoccurring.

Find a Hand Therapist Near You

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | MedBridge (
Cannon, N. (2020). Diagnosis and Treatment Manual for Physicians and Therapists
Upper Extremity Treatment Guidelines (5th ed.).
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (

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