Do I Have Carpal Tunnel?

Have you ever experienced an ongoing numbness or pain in your hand? It could be a temporary injury, but if the pain and numbness is ongoing, it could be carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects up to 10 percent of the population, and symptoms usually begin gradually without any specific injury.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Ongoing numbness
  • Pain
  • Tingling

You may experience these symptoms during the day with specific activities, such as talking on the phone, reading, or driving. Or, you may experience this pain at night, waking you from sleep.

Moving or shaking you hands will often decrease or alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms.

Other common problems associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Frequently dropping items
  • Difficulty performing fine motor tasks, such as buttoning clothes or tying shoes
  • A feeling of clumsiness, weakness, or pain

Risk factors

Often, swelling that occurs during pregnancy may cause carpal tunnel symptoms. These usually disappear following delivery.

Other risk factors include certain medical conditions and injuries, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wrist fractures

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Treatment

Carpal tunnel symptoms are caused by pressure being placed on the median nerve at the wrist. This nerve controls sensations of the thumb, index, long, and half of the ring fingers of each hand.

Symptoms from carpal tunnel can often be treated conservatively — for example, splinting at night to maintain a natural wrist position.

Initiating conservative treatment with early onset of carpal tunnel symptoms provides for the best success.

Hand Therapy Program

Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) has a hand therapy program staffed by occupational therapists, many who have specialty certifications in hand therapy.

Our therapists can:

  • Perform an activity analysis and ergonomic analysis to identify problem activities.
  • Recommend over-the-counter medications to decrease symptoms. Corticosteroid injections provided by physicians may also be helpful in alleviating symptoms.
  • Prescribe specific exercises to relieve pressure from the carpal tunnel.

Why Come to CRS for Therapy?

  • Convenience — CRS offers more than 50 locations throughout western Pennsylvania.
  • Top clinical care — Our occupational and physical therapists have a distinct clinical advantage. Not only are they highly trained in their fields, but they're also educators at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Trusted rehab services — We’ve been a trusted source for high-quality physical, occupational, speech, and other specialized physical rehabilitation services for more than twenty years. Our specialists are available to work as a team for the benefit of our patients.

If you experience carpal tunnel symptoms, have questions regarding carpal tunnel syndrome, or want to know more about occupational therapy, physical therapy, or the hand therapy program at CRS, call us at 1-888-723-4CRS (4277).

Contact UPMC Centers for Rehab Services

Call us at 1-888-723-4CRS (4277) if you:

  • experience carpal tunnel symptoms
  • have questions regarding carpal tunnel syndrome
  • want to know more about the hand therapy program at CRS

Additional Resources

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com