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Is it carpal tunnel syndrome or something else?

As you go through your workdays, you may notice that your hands start to hurt or tingle. You may shake them frequently or even resort to rubbing them on and off. As the pain increases, so does your ineffectiveness to complete the tasks your job requires.

Hand and wrist pain can signal the development of carpal tunnel syndrome or something else. The symptoms can often feel the same for other injuries. If you tend to do repetitive tasks with your hands, you may want to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Signs of carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops over time when pressure on the nerve running through your wrist increases. When this happens, response time in your hand may slow, and you may experience any number of symptoms, including:

  • Numbness and tingling of one or more fingers
  • Pain in the wrist and hands, especially running down the pinky
  • Reduction in grip strength or general hand weakness

Failing to treat the condition may result in serious long-term damage to the hands.

Signs of wrist tendinitis

Like carpal tunnel syndrome, inflammation of the tendons of the wrist can cause pain when performing normal tasks. If you experience tendinitis of any one or more of the 10 tendons that make up the wrist, the ache and effects on grip strength and range of motion may seem intolerable. The main difference between the two afflictions is carpal tunnel entails a damaged nerve, whereas tendinitis is damaged tendons.

Treatment options for both

Treating carpal tunnel or tendinitis may involve some of the same methods. Over-the-counter wrist splints may help relieve symptoms and, in the case of tendinitis, may help ease inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs can also help with the injured tendons and the pain from carpal tunnel. Treatment may increase as the relevant injury progresses and may result in surgery.

Experiencing pain in your hands and wrists while performing normal tasks may signal you have an underlying issue. Whether that issue is in the nerve (carpal tunnel) or the tendons (tendinitis), getting the proper treatment can help ease pain and prevent further damage.

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