Dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Disorder (CTS) is the name given to the condition that is caused by the swelling of the tissues around the median nerve of the hand resulting in the nerve getting pressed or pinched and pain and weakness being felt in the hand and wrist.

The median nerve is the key nerve that controls sensation and movement in the palm side of the thumb and fingers. It passes through a narrow passage or tunnel called carpal tunnel which is found at the base of the hand and which connects the forearm to the middle of the palm. Through this passage also passes several tendons, small bones, and connective tissue.

What causes Carpal Tunnel?

Dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a relatively common condition and often the result of a combination of factors instead of one.


  • Trauma and injury to the wrist due to sprain or fracture can be one cause. A fracture can alter the space within the carpal tunnel thus putting pressure on the median nerve and causing swelling and subsequent pain.
  • Other reasons are rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stress or continuous activity of the hand, fluid retention during pregnancy (about 50% of pregnant women reportedly develop CTS), hypothyroidism, menopause, and cyst or tumor in the tunnel.
  • It may also be hereditary and one with a family history of CTS is likely to develop this condition.
  • Habit, nature of work or the way the hand is used could also be grounds for developing this condition.

CTS is more common in women than men because the carpal tunnel is biologically narrow in the former.

Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Tingling (pins and needles) sensation in the thumb, index and middle finger
  • Burning or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers
  • Reduced grip strength
  • Thumb weakness
  • Pain in the hand or arm

Initially, it is felt in the night but as the disease progresses, the symptoms are experienced in the daytime, too.

Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In some cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not so difficult to treat and usually disappears on its own. However, in other cases, it does require treatment and monitoring. Treatment should start as soon as it is diagnosed because CTS can be painful and it can get worse as the disease progresses. If left untreated, permanent nerve and muscle damage can occur. The doctor is likely to first treat the underlying cause of CTS, such as diabetes or arthritis.

  • If the symptoms are mild and the problem not aggravated then the doctor will advise treatment by using ice packs to bring down the swelling or prescribe medication to provide relief from the pain. Corticosteroid injections may be given for the pain.
  • In severe cases, surgery is an option whereby the ligament that is pressing upon the median nerve is cut. This may be done via endoscopy or open release surgery.

How to avoid CTS?

  • Once the symptoms have abated exercising the joint is a good way of keeping the condition at bay just as lifestyle changes are necessary.
  • Strenuous and repetitive work, in which the hand is involved, should be avoided and correct wrist position is maintained.
  • Frequent breaks should be taken from activities that are the cause of this problem.
  • Regular rest from strenuous work can help in bringing down the swelling and the pain.
Carpal Tunnel Wrist Support to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Wrist Supports

Using wrist splints, braces and supports is a good way of relieving wrist pain, hand numbness, and finger tingling.

A thumb spica is also pretty useful in such cases because it provides light but firm compression to counteract the tissue swelling and give protection and support to the ulnar collateral ligament.

Post surgery, wearing a carpal gel sleeve help maintains an occlusive environment for scar management. It also provides mild compression.


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