Most people commonly associate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with age and natural risk factors such as the use of fine motor skills for typing and writing, or even just the anatomy of your wrist. What you may not know is that other medical conditions can lead to carpal tunnel too.
In fact, nearly anything that causes internal swelling of the wrist may eventually result in carpal tunnel, as the inside of the wrist is quite cramped. Some of these conditions are quite rare, but others are common and affect a great number of people. Does your condition require treatment for carpal tunnel relief before you can work out? Read on to find out.
Conditions that Lead to Carpal Tunnel:
There are several categories of diseases, genetic factors, and bad habits that can lead to chronic carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Improper work out techniques, for example, can cause CTS if used for long enough. This and other factors generally cause CTS over a long period of time, rather than causing immediate pain and swelling.
Most risk factors for CTS are related to aging. However, there are multiple carpal tunnel tests your doctor may perform to diagnose and treat the underlying conditions we discuss below.
Condition #1: Disorders Causing Fluid Retention
There are many disorders that cause fluid retention including diabetes mellitus, amyloidosis, and taking corticosteroids or estrogens. These conditions cause CTS in a manner similar to pregnancy. Unlike CTS caused by pregnancy, it won’t go away on its own. The underlying disorder needs to be treated for this type of CTS to disappear.
Condition #2: Acromegaly
Acromegaly is a rare condition that causes the production of excessive growth hormones. This can cause the tissue around the median nerve to expand and thus compress the nerve, causing chronic pain. This condition is usually caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland.
Condition #3: Tumors of the Wrist
One rare but notable condition that can cause CTS is the presence of a tumor inside the wrist. Thankfully, tumors inside the wrist are usually benign. Removal of the tumor eliminates pain and inflammation of the median nerve. The surgery necessary is generally fairly minor and non-invasive.
Condition #4: Obesity
People who are clinically obese have been proven to have a higher incidence of CTS. This is because the accumulation of fat in the area of the wrist can put pressure on the median nerve. Of course, this type of CTS can be cured by losing weight. Cardio workouts, rather than lifting, are ideal for this condition.
Condition #5: Double-crush Syndrome
Double-crush system is a controversial idea in medicine that holds that problems with the median nerve in other areas of the body, such as the neck, can cause problems with the median nerve in the area of the wrist (i.e., CTS). Many medical professionals do not support this idea. However, it has not been disproven, so it is still worth considering when you are trying to find the cause of your CTS.
Condition #6: Genetic Mutations
Certain genetic mutations can cause CTS. Mutations associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome are often the culprit. As with many other conditions linked to CTS, treating the underlying problem can cure the carpal tunnel.
Condition #7: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can cause carpal tunnel, as can many other diseases that cause swelling of the tendons in the wrist around the median nerve. These tendons, known as the flexor tendons, are especially susceptible to irritation from RA. Treatment for the underlying condition usually cures or improves carpal tunnel caused by arthritis.
Condition #8: Hypothyroidism
You might be surprised to hear that hypothyroidism can cause CTS. Hypothyroidism causes myxedema, which is a type of swelling associated with a malfunctioning thyroid. As with all types of swelling near the median nerve, chronic CTS may result.
Condition #9: Pregnancy
As most people probably know, pregnant women retain more water in their bodies than women who aren’t pregnant. Thankfully, CTS caused by pregnancy is temporary. After the woman gives birth, the water held within the body will return to normal levels and there should be total carpal tunnel relief.
Condition #10: Previous Injuries
Many different injuries can cause CTS, even if they’ve been healed for a long time. One common type of old injury that often causes CTS is a fracture of one of the bones in the wrist, which can be caused by overtraining or poor lifting technique. If this fracture heals improperly, it can slowly put pressure on the median nerve over a period of years.
Carpal Tunnel and Working Out
Carpal tunnel may be caused by incorrect workout techniques in the first place. Even if it isn’t and you use the proper techniques, you must get rid of the carpal tunnel before you resume lifting. Otherwise, you might worsen the condition.