Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Poor Circulation Connection

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Circulation problems affect many people and often times they are a result of lifestyle factors like a lack of inactivity or occupational hazards such as sitting for long periods of time. Poor circulation symptoms can include pain and discomfort, tingling and numbness and swelling, regardless of the underlying cause. Sometimes, there are health conditions that can create circulation problems. One of these is carpal tunnel syndrome, a common condition that can cause circulatory issues in the hands as well as painful symptoms.

The hands are a complex and intricate organization of bones, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and other biological matter that make up the very well used appendages. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the membranes that cover the tendons in the hand become inflamed, according to Dr. Sylvan Bartlett. Because there is so little room in the hand for the expansion arising from inflammation, there is nowhere for the fluid inside which increases in volume as a result of inflammation, to go. In turn, the median nerve can be impacted, with pressure being placed upon it that is abnormal. In the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, the condition is easily managed with shots and splints as well as exercises. But, in the later stages of the condition, poor circulation in hands can result which can lead to worsening symptoms and further complications.

Stage two carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to a decrease in hand circulation. This is where damage to the nerves in the hand can take place due to the reduction in hand circulation. As such, symptoms may worsen and earlier treatment methods may start to prove ineffective. Many times, when carpal tunnel progresses to the point where circulation is impacted due to pressure buildup from the swelling of the tendon surrounding membranes, surgical options are considered for treatment and for symptom reduction.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be related to circulation in another way as well. The U.S. National Library of Medicine at National Institution of Health references a study in which MRIs were used to observe the relationship between poor circulation and the common condition. The study showed that the syndrome may actually be brought on by circulation problems in some cases.

The symptoms of the syndrome may be mild at first and most often include pain in the hands, tingling in hands and fingers and also the sensation of the hands “falling asleep.” Additionally, a weekend grip or dropping things due to a weak thumb may also occur. There are multiple reasons to see a doctor at the onset of symptoms if they are occurring, persistent or worsening. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive disorder that often gets more severe over time, especially without intervention. And, it is also essential to understand that some of the symptoms of the disorder can mimic other conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, making an evaluation from a health care provider critical at determining the underlying cause of symptoms.

Peripheral neuropathy, as explained by Mayo Clinic, is a condition where nerves are damaged from injury, toxins, illness or infection. They impact different types of nerves within the body, including those that control heart rate and regulate blood pressure therefore potentially having a direct effect on circulation. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often affect the hands and include pain and a tingling, numb or burning sensation, not unlike those commonly encountered by sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Because of the potential for other conditions to be mistaken for carpal tunnel as well as the progression of the condition which can, in later stages, require surgery to correct and reduce symptoms, it is important to seek medical care if symptoms worsen or become unmanageable with home care solutions. There can be many ill effects of poor circulation causes including damage to tissues and nerves, similarly to the way in which neuropathy affects these areas. And, advice from a health care provider can be useful at determining the underlying cause and helping to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Many sufferers of carpal tunnel and the resulting poor circulation caused from same benefit from devices like wrist guards that help to keep the wrist in a natural position. And, there are other methods to control symptoms as well such as exercises, many of which can help promote healthy circulation. Live Strong explains one popular option, known as hand stretches. Essentially, these stretches involve extending the fingers from a closed fist position repeatedly in sets numerous times throughout the day. These work in two ways to provide symptom relief both in helping to boost blood flow and stretch the hands which can relax muscles and soothe aches as well.

Watch this educational video provided by WorkSafeBC on YouTube to find out more about carpal tunnel syndrome: