Carpal tunnel syndrome is exceptionally common, estimated to affect about 1 to 5 percent of the adult population. With so many people dealing with this disorder, it’s important to know how to identify and handle carpal tunnel.

But what are the causes of carpal tunnel, and how can you handle it? Can carpal tunnel cause elbow pain, or is this a separate disorder that needs different treatment?

If you’re curious about carpal tunnel syndrome and how to deal with the disorder, we’re here to help. Read on for a quick overview of how to handle untreated carpal tunnel.

What Is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel is a medical condition that compresses the median nerve of your wrist. Your median nerve, along with some of your flexor tendons, runs from the forearm through your wrist, called the carpal tunnel.

When this nerve “malfunctions,” it can cause growing pain throughout your wrist and arm. In some cases, this pain can become debilitating.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel is most often caused by wrist injuries or bone spurs, as these create pressure on the median nerve. Injuries that cause your carpal tunnel to swell will also increase pressure by narrowing the available space.

Pregnancy and obesity are also common causes. Menopause can increase the pressure due to fluid retention. In many cases, carpal tunnel will recede once the overlying cause has been handled.

Women are often considered more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than men. Primarily, this is because women have smaller carpal tunnels.

Can Carpal Tunnel Cause Elbow Pain?

Carpal tunnel can cause elbow pain in severe cases. Your median nerve runs from your wrist up to your arm, so it isn’t uncommon to feel pain across the entire arm.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome has symptoms similar to carpal tunnel and, as such, is often diagnosed similarly. Cubital tunnel syndrome targets the ulnar nerve, causing carpal tunnel syndromes across the forearm up to the fourth and fifth digits.

Like carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression or damage to the elbow’s ulnar nerve. If you feel pain in your elbow, consider exploring this as the cause.

Ways to Alleviate Pain

If you’re dealing with carpal tunnel pain, there are several at-home remedies to alleviate symptoms. Reducing swelling will be one of the most helpful. Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medicine and simple ice packs are a good way to accomplish this.

Another common cause of carpal tunnel is frequent use of the hands and wrists, such as in typing-focused jobs. Consider taking some time to rest so your wrists can heal. You should also contact a medical professional to make sure the problem isn’t too severe.

Handling Carpal Tunnel Pain

Can carpal tunnel cause elbow pain? While this isn’t uncommon, you should always seek medical advice to make sure it isn’t cubital tunnel syndrome.

At Idaho Shoulder to Hand, we’re experts in shoulder pain, elbow injuries, and hand and wrist disorders. We explore both surgical and non-surgical options to keep you healthy. Make an appointment today to explore your options.