Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that results in compression of the median nerve which narrows pathway of the palm side of your hand. This causes numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and arm.
The median nerve lanes from your forearm through a pathway in your wrist to your hand. The main function of the median nerve is to provide sensation to your thumb, index finger, long finger and a part of ring finger and impulses to the muscles in the thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect both the hands.
Anything that disturbs or irritated the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may set in carpal tunnel syndrome. Increased pressure in the wrist and on median nerve leads to swelling and pain in the wrist. The improper blood flow causes swelling of the wrist. Comorbid conditions associated with carpal tunnel syndrome like diabetes, thyroid disorder, pregnancy, hypertension, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and fractures to the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be worsened with recurrent movements of your wrist that results in swelling and compression of the median nerve. Women are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than men. Smoking, high sodium diet, physical inactivity and obesity are some of the lifestyle factors that increase the risk.
- Symptoms are seen along the nerve path due to the compression of median nerve, your hand may fall asleep often and drop objects. Other symptoms include
- Numbness and tingling pain in the first 3 fingers
- Burning sensation
- Severe wrist pain at night that disturbs sleep
- General weakness in the muscles of the hand
Diagnosis And Treatment
Doctors diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome by doing a complete physical examination and performing a nerve conduction study.
Treatment aims at conservative management of the syndrome without going for surgery, which includes:
Refrain from positions that overstrain your wrist
Wear wrist splints to support your hand in a neutral position
Over the counter, mild pain medications are given to reduce inflammation
Treat underlying disorder -diabetes or arthritis
Steroid injections are given to lessen inflammation