Do I Have a Carpal Tunnel or Arthritis?
I realize that both may seem interchangeable at times because they make your fingers move hurt and seem relieved by painkillers. However, they are different health conditions.
Yes, but how can I know the difference?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury. You know you do not have arthritis by changing your routine like switching to dictation, doing other tasks in between to break the repetition or getting ergonomic tools makes you go away.
Arthritis can hurt your hands when you write or cook too much.
Arthritis can be caused by an autoimmune attack on the joints, destruction of cartilage or other reasons. You know you have arthritis when your joints rise and you feel hot.
I remember my grandmother's hands that looked like nuts on small ropes. But the swelling I thought was only in the autoimmune version of the disease.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the joints hurt but do not swell externally. It is the internal swelling that causes the numbness and tingling that you feel due to pressure on the nerve, and arthritis does not cause those symptoms either.
What causes arthritis in the hands?
You get swelling, warmth and tenderness, and if untreated, finger joint deformities.
Have you seen scars on carpal tunnel surgery?
But that deformity is only after surgery, while the carpal tunnel only makes it difficult to use the hands due to numbness and pain. Arthritis causes deformity if you do nothing or not – well, if you do nothing try it.
How are they treated?
Arthritis is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics.
This is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Arthritis is often accompanied by morning stiffness, sometimes in large parts of the body, while carpal tunnel syndrome will not migrate by the elbow or shoulder. And arthritis causes joint stiffness before pain, while the carpal tunnel only hurts to move.
Assuming the nerve is not so tight it can not be.
It would be numb but could not move. With arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, you can not move the affected fingers even though the feeling is okay.
Therefore, the carpal tunnel affects the nerves, while arthritis affects the joints.
Another difference between arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, assuming arthritis is not triggered by a serious injury, is that arthritis is in the joints alike, like the two hands. It is rare for both hands to have carpal tunnel syndrome alike.
So if it's mostly the hand I use most, it's probably carpal tunnel syndrome.
But regardless of what you think you have, consult a doctor not to make it worse, and to lose the partial use of hands.
Video credits to Question Everything YouTube channel