What is carpal tunnel syndrome?



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When the median nerve travels from the arm into the hand and is pinched at the wrist, a painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome develops. Pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and fingers are often experienced also.

There is no one cause of the syndrome. There are a variety of causes, some of which are anatomic, such as the size of the carpal tunnel, and others that are biomechanical, like repeated motion. Pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are three additional risk factors.

Carpal tunnel typically starts with mild symptoms that progressively become worse. The initial symptom is usually numbness or discomfort in the hands and fingers, particularly while sleeping. Writing, typing and driving may all become more difficult as the illness worsens. Electromyography and nerve conduction investigations may help confirm the diagnosis.

Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment

Resting the hand and wrist, using a splint, and conducting exercises to rebuild the muscles and tendons in the hand and forearm are the first steps in the conservative treatment of a hand or wrist injury. Surgery is an alternative option in severe cases. The most frequent surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is a procedure called carpal tunnel release. By severing the ligament that supports the roof of the carpal tunnel, surgery may release pressure on the median nerve. An incision in the palm or the wrist may be used for this surgery.

After surgery, the hand and wrist will be immobilized for around six weeks in a splint. Hand and wrist mobility and strength may be restored with physical therapy. Surgery usually results in a complete recovery and the restoration of normal life for most patients.


If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so it is important to find the option that is right for you. With the right treatment, you can improve your symptoms and quality of life.