Why is my nerve pain not going away?
A tingling sensation in the fingers, pins and needles, will progressively get worse until the fingers feel numb or dead. At first the feeling of tingling and pins & needles will come and go, only to progress to a constant feeling of burning and numbness as the pressure increases on the median nerve.
The Sensations often appear while holding an object like a cell phone or steering wheel. Generally it starts at the wrist and progressively moves up towards your elbow. In most cases it develops slowly and the symptoms will start off being worse at night or early in the morning.
Progression of Compression
The end results of an untreated median nerve irritation and compression will cause you to experience weakness when trying to grip or hold an object. A very clear sign of long term median nerve compression we see the muscles wasting away at the base of the thumb. You will be unable to lift your thumb and grip a mug of coffee or accidentally let things drop out of your hand.
The compression on the median nerve prevents feedback signals to your brain which causes clumsiness and weakness, which will make you feel like you have lost power in your fingers especially your thumb. Weakness and atrophy of the thumb muscles is a very clear sign of median nerve compression.
What makes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Worse
The following leads to swelling within the carpal tunnel:
- Health problems or illnesses that can cause swelling in the joints and soft tissue, or reduce blood flow (obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, hyperthyroidism, multiple sclerosis)
- Pregnant women can suffer from short-term symptoms especially later in their pregnancy as they very often struggle with swelling of the wrists
- Hand & wrist movements that require you to do repetitive motions especially where the wrist is bent repeatedly
- Smoking can affect the blood flow to the median nerve
- Broken wrist bones, fractures or dislocation of the Carpal bones
- New bone growth from healing bones or bone Spurs
- Normal wear & tear of the tissues in the hand & wrist caused by aging
- Exposure to vibrations
- Cold temperatures
Structural Abnormalities of the Carpal tunnel
The shape, position, dislocation and subluxation of the carpal bones. (These abnormalities will modify the wall of the tunnel and can cause compression)
- Fractures or screws in the forearm closer to the wrist can also be a source of pain.
- Arthritis or inflammation of the joints between the carpal bones (Rheumatoid Arthritis)
A big problem we see with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome these days:
After a patient has had surgery, there is scar tissue formation on the wound that forms into a scar. Scar tissue is a dense tissue that looks like a spider web. It helps to close a wound very well, but in some cases, it can restrict the normal slide of the nerve. Seeing a therapist is very important to ensure that scar tissue is guided to prevent any restriction on the median nerve tissue.
Wait too long
When you wait too long before getting treatment, the nerve damage can progress too far, making it very difficult to regain full use of the hand. Research has shown that if moderate symptoms occur for longer than 6 months the effects of conservative treatment is poor. If your pain does not relieve in 2 weeks you might want to consider asking our advice.
Braces can make it worse
There is a wide variety of generic braces, sleeves and splints on the market. The problem we see with these braces are that they most often do not fit well and can end up causing more pressure on the median nerve. Make sure you know what you are dealing with before you go buy something that can make it worse.
Be careful what you buy
Generic products sold to help the position of the hand, an example is an ergonomic mouse pad. These products can increases pressure on the Carpal Tunnel and therefore increase the pressure on the nerves running in your wrist. Rather ask for advice before you buy certain products.