How to Tell If You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition that happens when the main nerve running from the forearm to the palm (also known as the median nerve) is squeezed or pressed at the wrist. The symptoms of this condition often begin gradually with tingling, burning, or numbness in the fingers or the palm of the hand. These symptoms can also be felt in the thumb, index, and middle fingers.

CTS symptoms often first begin during the night, in one or both hands, because many people sleep with their wrists flexed. When those suffering from CTS wake up, they often want to “shake loose” a hand or a wrist. Many say their fingers feel swollen, although there is no apparent swelling. CTS can be debilitating, and if you’re diagnosed with this condition, it’s possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The symptoms of CTS can vary for each person, but they most often affect the hand, fingers, wrist, and sometimes the forearm. Here are symptoms of mild and severe CTS:

Mild CTS

  • Your fingers may feel stiff when you wake in the morning.
  • You may feel occasional numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers.
  • You may experience pain or numbness in your wrist, forearm, or hand that wakes you up during the night.
  • You may feel that your hand has fallen asleep or a sensation of pins-and-needles.
  • Your hand and wrist may become more painful the more you use them.
  • You may experience an aching pain in your forearm between your wrist and elbow.

Moderate or Severe CTS

  • You may experience numbness and reduced strength and ability to grip objects.
  • You may find that your thumb muscles are smaller and weaker with long-term CTS.
  • You may find you drop objects more often.
  • You may experience more severe muscle cramps and pain.
  • You may not distinguish between hot and cold through touch. In chronic CTS cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may begin to “waste away.”

If you are experiencing symptoms of CTS, call a doctor to obtain a diagnosis. If your condition is interfering with your ability to work or perform daily tasks, call us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation and determine if you might be eligible for Social Security benefits.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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