If you're at high risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, certain other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, a family history of carpal tunnel, and more), you should not only take extra care of your hands and wrists and keep a close eye on your posture, but you should also watch out for the symptoms of carpal tunnel so that, if it does show up, you can get it treated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your chiropractic adjustments may help, but your chiropractor may also wish to pursue other treatments such as splinting and physical therapy. Typical symptoms of carpal tunnel include pain and tingling in the wrist and/or the hand (including all the fingers except the pinky) and muscle weakness, but you can also be on the lookout for these three early warning signs to help you catch the problem as quickly as possible.
1. Morning pain
In the early stages of a nerve problem, your hand may hurt not during the day but instead at night or early in the morning. This may be due to the fact that people often sleep with their wrists bent, which can further aggravate nerves that are starting to become irritated. It can be a puzzling symptom that doesn't at first seem to point to carpal tunnel (after all, you weren't using your hands or wrists, just sleeping) but if you're aware of it, you may be able to catch the problem earlier.
2. Unexplained paresthesia
Paresthesia, or numbness and tingling (a pins-and-needles sensation), is both a common occurrence and a symptom of carpal tunnel. Pay attention to how frequently you get these sensations and whether or not they occur when there's no obvious reason. It's easy to miss this, especially since there are so many other things that can cause your fingers to tingle (which is also a good reason not to freak out if you get a tingling sensation. It's not necessarily carpal tunnel; it could easily be some other problem). The median nerve goes to all of the fingers except the pinky finger and the half of the ring finger that's next to your pinky. Consequently, if the tingling occurs in your pinky finger, carpal tunnel is not the cause; you may have an ulnar nerve injury instead.
3. Loss of dexterity
Nerve problems can cause loss of muscle tone and even muscle atrophy over time. But in the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, the weakening may be too small to notice in your grip strength. But if you're paying attention, you may notice that as a precursor to noticeable loss of muscle tone, you start to lose a little of the coordination in your fingers.
These are three symptoms that can help alert you to an oncoming case of carpal tunnel. Be sure to see a chiropractor or other healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment recommendations if you suspect you have these symptoms.