Carpal tunnel syndrome can be quite painful and disruptive to your quality of life. In order to determine whether you have it or not, it will be important for you to see a physician for evaluation. You don't mention exactly what your symptoms are, but carpal tunnel syndrome usually manifests as painful, tingling
in the fingers and wrists, especially in the 4th and 5th fingers. However, there are several other conditions (tendinitis, arthritis
) that can cause pain in this region of the hand. In addition, while repetitive overuse injuries can definitely cause carpal tunnel, there are several other conditions that can be associated with triggering an episode, including endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism. Untreated, severe carpal tunnel syndrome can even lead to muscle wasting. In cases where the nerve is being affected as demonstrated on nerve conduction studies, conservative treatment such as splinting and avoidance of trigger activities is not sufficient and a patient will need to undergo tunnel release surgery
to preserve the neuromuscular function of the affected hand. For all of these reasons it is important for you to see a physician for evaluation. In theory it is possible that you could have had on-off symptoms for a period of years, but severe carpal tunnel would not be possible over the course of several decades without limitation in function.