Person holding wrist in in pain

Unusual Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There is no doubt that the human body is complex and that pain is a variable phenomenon. 

A condition like carpal tunnel syndrome provides evidence of this fact since while most patients who suffer from it have symptoms in common, some experience more idiosyncratic manifestations of the problem.

Exactly What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a wrist disorder in which the median nerve — the nerve that runs through a “tunnel” from the forearm through the wrist to the hand  — is compressed, a condition known as “entrapment neuropathy.”

Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome typically results in pain, tingling, and numbness. Because the median nerve provides sensation to the thumb and fingers (all but the pinky), these digits, as well as the wrist, are affected.

Uncommon Symptoms Some Patients Experience With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain can vary greatly from one person to another, so those diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome may feel a number of types of discomfort, including:

  • Sharp, stinging pain
  • Burning or grinding sensation
  • Deep aching or throbbing
  • Sensation of weakness
  • Pins and needles (tingling)
  • Extreme numbness

Patients who come to the offices of Long Island Rehabilitation Medicine for treatment are sometimes mystified by symptoms that at first seem to be unrelated to carpel tunnel syndrome, such as:

  1. Awakening with an achy, tingling, or numb hand

Though most of us are unaware of what we do with our hands when we sleep, many of us sleep with our hands flexed or bent under. If you frequently wake up with a hand that is sore, tingling, or numb, it is very possible that you are dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. Many patients find relief from this problem by wearing a wrist brace while sleeping.

  1. Having your hand become achy or numb while driving, bicycling, or pushing a stroller or wheelchair

If you find yourself having to take a moment to revive your hand by shaking it after gripping the steering wheel, handlebars, or something else for a period of time, this, too, may be a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome.

  1. Having trouble with tasks that require dexterity

Does it seem more difficult to tie your sneakers, button or zip your clothing, or lift a coin off the floor? Carpal tunnel syndrome may once again be to blame since you may have lost sensitivity in your fingers making fine movements more difficult.

  1. Feeling clumsy because you’re dropping things too often

Once again, carpal tunnel syndrome may be the culprit.  Having less complete sensation in your fingers can make your grip less reliable, causing you to drop keys or packages with greater frequency.

  1. Feeling pain up the affected arm

For some people with carpal tunnel syndrome, the pain does not remain confined to the wrist, hand, and fingers, but may migrate up the arm to the elbow or even to the shoulder or neck.

  1. Feeling as if your fingers are swollen and stiff

It can be peculiar to feel that your fingers are swollen but see with your own eyes that they are not. One of the less common symptoms of carpal tunnel is to feel puffed up as if you’re retaining fluid when your glove size remains the same.

  1. Typing and/or texting become more painful

Holding your affected hand in a certain position or pushing down on your fingers can cause increasing strain, making using the computer or iPhone uncomfortable.

  1. Feeling as if you need gloves indoors

Carpal tunnel syndrome, like Raynaud’s disease, can narrow your blood vessels, so both can cause the same symptom — cold hands and fingers.

Contact Our Experienced Doctors for Relief From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Whether you’re dealing with the more typical or less common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, the physiatrists at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine can improve your quality of life. We offer multiple conventional and alternative remedies, including physical and occupational therapy for the hand and wrist, corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and acupuncture. Contact us now for accurate diagnosis and effective, nonsurgical treatment.