What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

December 01, 2021
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition worldwide among adults between 30 and 60. The pain, tingling, swelling, and weakness it causes can be severe and disrupt daily life. Let's look at what causes carpal tunnel syndrome and the various treatment options available.

First, we'll discuss the basics of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

How Does CTS Affect the Hand's Inner Workings?

The squeezing of the median nerve causes CTS. This nerve runs through the arm and the hand's carpal tunnel. When there's inflammation and surrounding tissue swells, it puts pressure on the nerve. Cue the uncomfortable carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

Now let's explore some of the most common causes of this painful condition.

Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Besides a diet high in salt, risk factors for CTS include being:

  • Obese
  • An older adult
  • A smoker
  • A woman
  • Sedentary

In addition, the following factors contribute to whether someone develops this entrapment disorder.

A New or Old Injury

From sprains to dislocations and fractures, direct trauma can give rise to carpal tunnel symptoms.

Hereditary Factors

Genes play a role in anatomical structures. People with smaller carpal tunnels, for example, tend to struggle with CTS. 

Repetitive Strain

Overuse could be due to an occupation or a favorite hobby where individuals often have to bend their wrists, use vibrating tools, or grip objects with force. For example, a job that involves typing, or certain sports where grasping motions occur frequently could be to blame. Holding a cellphone or a book for long stretches could become a problem too.

Pregnancy or Menopause

Although it may seem strange, these life stages bring about hormonal changes that lead to fluid retention.

Other Medical Conditions

Thyroid dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure can interfere with blood flow or cause the wrist to swell.

Finally, we'll cover common treatment options recommended for someone suffering from CTS.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment Options

Conservative Approaches

  • Applying cold packs to the affected hand to bring down swelling
  • NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Occasional cortisone shots
  • A wrist splint, so the wrist remains stationary, especially during sleep.
  • Ergonomic tweaks to improve hand and wrist position during everyday tasks
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation and tailored exercises


It can be mentally and physically draining to deal with CTS for longer than six months. After they exhaust other less invasive measures, orthopedic doctors may recommend surgery. Carpal tunnel surgery usually takes place in an outpatient setting with a local anesthetic. After surgery, physical therapy can strengthen fingers and hands and speed up the recovery process.

Get Ortho Rehab for CTS in Huntsville, Al

Carpal tunnel syndrome progresses without early interventions. At first annoying, CTS-related discomfort can turn into a debilitating condition that lowers a person's quality of life. 

Whether your CTS is mild or severe, Therapy Achievements in North Alabama can assist. Our highly-qualified therapists work in tandem with your doctor to walk you through customized rehab programs. 

Contact us today for more info on how we can help you heal.