Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a common condition, occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow and rigid passageway of bones, tendons, and tissues that houses the median nerve. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb, index, middle and a portion of the ring finger. It is also responsible for providing innervation to a few small muscles in the hand.
The passageways can become narrowed by inflammation of the underlying tendons and tissues compressing the median nerve. This condition is the most common peripheral compressive neuropathy in the body.
Signs and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Frequent numbness or tingling in the fingers (thumb, index, middle fingers) especially at night
- Feeling a need to “shake out” the hand/wrist at night
- Weakness of the hand
Causes of CTS?
- Pressure on the median nerve
- Trauma or injury to the wrist causing swelling
- Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause
- Development of a cyst in the carpal tunnel
- Overactive pituitary glad, underactive thyroid gland, rheumatoid arthritis
- Often, no single cause can be identified
- Conservative care
- Manual therapy- Mobilizations, stretching
- Wrist bracing or splints may be warranted
- Medication (NSAID’s for pain reduction-short term)
- Surgery (rarely required and NOT guaranteed cure)