Carpal tunnel syndrome and Hypothyroidism

Many doctors and surgeons may not be fully aware of the connection between Carpal tunnel syndrome and hypothyroidism, despite an article printed in the 1998 July 27th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine (published by the American Medical Association).

This study showed that MANY people with Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may have unrecognized medical diseases, including hypothyroidism, as the underlying cause of their CTS.



It was reported that around 33% of all the patients studied, That OTHER CONDITIONS-MAINLY HYPOTHYROIDISM, DIABETES and JOINT DISEASE were present and could be the CAUSE of their carpal tunnel syndrome and hypothyroidism.

What is HYPOTHYROIDISM ?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid hormone production is below normal. There are many disorders that result in hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone is important because it affects many aspects of the body's function such as growth and development, metabolism, and body temperature just to name a few.

The thyroid gland is located just below your Adams apple area and it uses IODINE to make thyroid hormone. Foods such as salt, seafood, breads contain certain amounts of iodine (some foods like salt have iodine added to them!)

HOW COMMON IS HYPOTHYROIDISM?

Hypothyroidism is a very common condition.Affecting up to 6% of the population.It occurs in women more than men and chances of getting it increases with age (Sorry Ladies!)

TREATMENT of HYPOTHYROIDISM

Generally treatment is very simple but is life long and requires a prescription medicine that you take every day. (Please do not try to self treat this with herbs and vitamins etc...

SYMPTOMS of HYPOTHYROIDISM

Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism can be fatigue, depression, weight gain, cold intolerance (you feel cold even at room temp) constipation, dry skin, muscle cramps, swelling of the legs, hands....As you can see these are kind of vague symptoms which can have many causes (i.e. Like a normal, typical working mom!) But if you continually have a number of these symptoms, I would recommend you get a thyroid panel blood test and discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider.

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME and HYPOTHYROIDISM THE CONNECTION

Hypothyroidism may be associated with carpal tunnel syndrome simply because hypothyroid patients tend to retain fluid in the tissues more than people with normal thyroid levels. This can make the swelling worse in your wrist, See Carpal tunnel anatomy which compresses the (MEDIAN NERVE) as it passes through the tunnel area.


CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME and HYPOTHYROIDISM in SUMMARY

If you have been diagnosed with Carpal tunnel syndrome, your healthcare provider should determine if it is due to a treatable medical problem such as HYPOTHYROIDISM. Your primary care provider is usually the best one to see and treat you for this NOT an orthopedic surgeon.

When hypothyroidism is treated the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may improve. In my opinion, unless you have evidence of severe nerve damage per a nerve conduction study, hypothyroid patients with carpal tunnel syndrome should WAIT 3 months or so AFTER their hypothyroidism is corrected, BEFORE undergoing carpal tunnel surgery (i.e. Carpal tunnel release)

Also take note that CONSERVATIVE CTS TREATMENTS are appropriate while waiting for your hypothyroid levels to be corrected with thyroid medication from your doctor.

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CTS Explanation
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes
Medicines for carpal tunnel pain relief
How CTS is diagnosed
CTS wrist braces