Los Angeles’ Premier Pain Management Specialists located in Santa Monica, CA.

Understanding the Link Between Depression and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Understanding the Link Between Depression and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When you’re living with the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), you might also grapple with emotional challenges. In fact, research shows that while CTS isn’t known to cause depression on its own, it may raise your risk for depressive moods or worsen ongoing mental health challenges. 

At California Pain Medicine Center in Santa Monica, California, expert pain management specialists, Dr. Joshua Prager and Dr. Gabriel Barnard, understand how frustrating carpal tunnel syndrome can be and provide effective care to help you find relief.

Carpal tunnel 101

The carpal tunnel is a passageway in your wrist that’s made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons. Carpal tunnel syndrome stems from pressure on the median nerve as it moves through that “tunnel.” This happens when tissue inside the carpal tunnel swells up, compressing the nerve.

As a result, you may notice these symptoms in the affected wrist:

You may also find yourself dropping things more often and struggling with sleep and increased emotional stress. 

These symptoms may come and go periodically, but they often worsen over time. And while anyone can develop them, CTS is more likely if you have small carpal tunnels, engage in repetitive hand or wrist movements, or have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Carpal tunnel syndrome and depression

Like many forms of chronic pain, CTS can lead to low moods and feelings of frustration. If your symptoms grow especially severe, your mental health and well-being may take a harder hit. 

Carpal tunnel pain and discomfort can also interfere with sleep, which can lead to or worsen depression. If you end up with chronic insomnia, for example, your risk for depression may go up tenfold. And feeling anxious about sleep challenges can exacerbate both your sleep problems and your pain, given that quality sleep plays an important role in healing.

Finding carpal tunnel relief

Carpal tunnel treatment often starts with conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medication, a wrist brace or splint, and activity changes. If these measures don’t suffice, we may recommend corticosteroid injections. Surgery to release the compressed nerve in your wrist is reserved for the most severe cases. 

While these treatments won’t treat a depressive disorder that’s unrelated to your CTS, they can help ease the emotional strain brought on by the pain, tingling, and numbness. If you continue to struggle emotionally, we may recommend care from a psychological professional or ketamine therapy

To learn more about carpal tunnel and depression or to get the pain management you need, call California Pain Medicine Center at 310-264-7246 or request an appointment through our website today.

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