Carpal tunnel is a condition that occurs when a nerve in the wrist called the “median nerve” gets squeezed or pinched. Carpal tunnel can cause symptoms as:
- Wrist pain
- Numbness and tingling in the digits of the hand
- Weakness in the hand
- Pain in the hand, including fingers and the thumb
- Radiating pain to the forearm
- Rarely, radiating pain the elbow and shoulders
Carpal tunnel is more commonly caused by repetitive hand/wrist movements at work or during sports activities, over a prolonged period of time. Some activities can trigger the condition, as in driving, reading, holding a phone, or typing.
Carpal tunnel is more common in females. Obesity has a link to carpal tunnel and so it may be recommended to lose weight to help with the condition. Pregnancy and other diseases including diabetes, arthritis, and low thyroid may also be associated with causing carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel symptoms may come and go. For others they may be lifelong. To diagnose carpal tunnel, your healthcare provider may do some basic tests to see if you are positive for carpal tunnel.
Treatment modalities for carpal tunnel may include rest, icing, splinting, and NSAIDs. Sometimes steroids need to be prescribed. Occupational therapy may also be helpful. Imaging may be necessary. For severe and prolonged symptoms, your healthcare provider may need to refer you to a specialist for surgery. Speak to a healthcare provider now to determine if you have the condition and how you can be treated.