Common Misconceptions Regarding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

CTSInterviewer: What are some other common misconceptions that people have about carpal tunnel syndrome?

Dr. Sarim Mir: It is a misconception that people sometimes think that the only way to treat carpal tunnel is by surgery and this misconception stemmed from people who have had poor surgery outcome who talked to other people about their experience.

Some people believe that the carpal tunnel surgery doesn’t work and then there are some who are really afraid to undergo the carpal tunnel surgery and would let their symptoms go for years and years because they are so afraid of the surgery—as they had been told or somehow got this idea that the carpal tunnel surgery doesn’t work. These are the same people who believe that the carpal tunnel is permanent.

Common Ways of Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Maryland

Interviewer: What are some of the common ways people develop carpal tunnel syndrome?

Dr. Sarim Mir: There’s a common misconception that it is from using computers which causes carpal tunnel. We have had patients who come in and say ‘I have the symptoms of carpal tunnel, but I don’t use a computer. How can I have it?’

The fact is that carpal tunnel is a fairly common condition. The causes of carpal tunnel are, if you are performing repetitive tasks with the fingers and the hands—that does put you at risk for carpal tunnel. We see carpal tunnel in people who work on the assembly lines. These are the people who can get carpal tunnel. Housewives who are busy doing housework tasks all the time can also get carpal tunnel from doing their chores.

Having a Previous Injury or Fracture of the Wrist Increases the Risk of Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are things that will put people at risk for carpal tunnel. Those risks for carpal tunnel are: if you have a previous injury on the wrist, or a previous fracture there. This increases the risk of carpal tunnel. If you have arthritis at the wrist—that can also increase your risk of getting carpal tunnel because with the development of arthritis, the area through which the tendons and the nerves pass at the wrist will decrease in size. The other risk factor is diabetes. If people have diabetes, diabetes can, with time, damage the nerves making them prone to getting carpal tunnel. Another cause is obesity.

Obesity and Thyroid Disease also Increase the Risk of Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Obesity and thyroid disease can also increase the carpal tunnel risk. If people have thyroid insufficiency, they are also at an increased risk. People who also have rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk.

Carpal tunnel is also seen in pregnancy because during pregnancy there is fluid retention. But usually after childbirth carpal tunnel improves. It is very uncommon for a patient to have surgery for carpal tunnel during pregnancy. The vast majority of the patients who develop carpal tunnel during pregnancy—when treated conservatively will get better. But there are some who don’t get better and would require surgery.

Any Condition that Causes Retention of Fluids Can Also Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Interviewer: Would my diet have anything to do with carpal tunnel?

Dr. Sarim Mir: With the diet, the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome increases, particularly the people who are obese. Diet has to do with that—people who are eating too much; those whose diabetes is out of control and/or those who haven’t been able to control their diet.

Any condition which will cause retention of fluid can also cause carpal tunnel symptoms.