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Have you experienced a tingling sensation along your fingers or hand? Do you feel pain or weakness? It could be carpal tunnel syndrome.

The median nerve, which is responsible for controlling movement and sensation in the thumb and fingers, runs through a narrow passageway on the side of the wrist. This passageway is called the carpal tunnel. When the carpal tunnel is compressed or pinched, it will result in numbness or pain in the affected hand, causing the condition.

You wont feel the tingling or numbness or pain immediately. The sensation develops gradually, starting with a feeling similar to pins-and-needles. Throughout the day, the pain or tingling may begin to occur as you hold objects.

The most common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is hand weakness. It may progress from the thumb and first two fingers until it will be difficult for you to make a fist or grab an object. As a result, you tend to drop the things youre holding with the affected hand or find it difficult to perform day-to-day activities like buttoning your shirt.

Numbness is another common symptom. The feeling is similar to the sensation when you have swollen fingers. You may also have difficulty distinguishing hot and cold.

Did you know women are three times more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome? This risk may increase with the presence of contributing factors like diabetes, hypothyroidism, gout and rheumatoid arthritis; wrist injury and pregnancy may also add to the likelihood.

Without treatment, the pain may reach to the arm and shoulder. Carpal tunnel syndrome may also cause atrophy of the muscles in the affected thumb area. Sensation and strength may never be restored if timely treatment is not given.

If youre experiencing these symptoms, have yourself checked by a doctor to get an expert opinion on your condition. Some conditions have symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, which include arthritis of the wrist or thumb, diabetic neuropathy and wrist injury.

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Interventional pain specialist Arif B. Khan, MD, offers lasting solutions for several pain conditions. He has helped people of all ages in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area of TX. His treatment recommendations always start with conservative interventions such as activity modification, therapeutic exercise or physical therapy.

I'm very pleased with the Medtronic Neurostimulator I received on the advice of Dr Khan. - Bridget.E

Arif B. Khan, MD, is the medical director of Texas Interventional Pain Care, an interventional pain center specializing in the treatment of many painful conditions, and located at 2201 N. Central Express Way, Suite 171, Richardson, TX 75080; 222 South Collins Road Suite 101, Sunnyvale, TX 75182. Phone: 972-952-0290 or fax 972-952-0293.