Carpal tunnel syndrome and depression

When we think of carpal tunnel syndrome, physical symptoms such as numbness, tingling, wrist pain and loss of fine dexterity immediately come to mind. However carpal tunnel syndrome can also become incapacitating to the point of affecting the patient’s psychological well-being and mental health. Like several other painful illnesses, carpal tunnel syndrome has impacts in various spheres of life if it is not treated quickly. In some cases, the impact of the pain, lack of sleep and disability it causes can even result in depression.

Impact on sleep

Patients affected by carpal tunnel syndrome are often awakened several times per night by a burning pain sensation in their hands. Numbness, burning sensations or tingling disrupt their sleeping patterns. Patients wake up and need to flick their hands to alleviate the acute sensation of pins and needles. They often have to get up and walk around or dangle their arms to get relief. The lack of rest and sleep ends up affecting their mood and energy level.

Impact on work and Lifestyle

Many occupations require workers to perform repetitive wrist movements, such as flexion and extension or gripping. These movements can trigger or aggravate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although no causal link with clerical work has been demonstrated in the scientific literature, it is still recognized as an activity that increases its symptoms.
For example, repetitive motions associated with office work such as mouse manipulation or intensive use of a keyboard should be avoided for a period of time in patients diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.
This may also be the case for construction workers who use vibrating tools or who perform tasks that require the muscular strength of the forearms. In some cases, simply holding a phone, keeping a diary or driving a vehicle increases the pain.

As a result, people with carpal tunnel syndrome sometimes have to stop their professional activities for an indefinite period of time. Loss of income, and patient’s perception of themselves can be altered since they no longer feel productive and fulfilled. Patients are also be affected by the look of others, colleagues, superiors, friends or even family members. Temporary disability often causes stress, anguish and anxiety.

Impact on Family and personal life

Patients tend to feel less useful and their life partners are often required to support them financially, morally and even in the activities of their daily routine including self-care. These situations sometimes lead to tensions between spouses and members of the family. conflicting family relationships are recognized as one of the environmental factors that can contribute to depression in an individual.


Like the majority of incapacitating diseases, carpal tunnel syndrome can be the trigger for a multitude of problems that affect psychological balance. Lack of sleep, disruption of lifestyle and family problems can can lead to depressive episodes or even depression. In order to prevent both physical and psychological complications caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, it is very important to consult a hand specialist as soon as possible. Endoscopic surgery, for example, allows patients to regain their life habits quickly as the free use of the hand is improved the day after the operation. It is therefore important to consider this type of intervention in order to prevent this pathology from having more serious impacts in your life.