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Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is squeezed where it passes through the wrist. This often happens because the tendons in the wrist have become swollen and they press on the nerve. The median nerve controls some of the muscles that move the thumb and it carries information back to the brain about sensations in your thumb and fingers.

When the nerve is squeezed it can cause pain, aching, tingling or numbness in the affected hand. The symptoms tend to be worse at night and may disturb your sleep, but you may notice it most when you wake up in the morning. Hanging your hand out of bed or shaking it around will often relieve the pain and tingling.

Causes

People engaged in repetitive motions throughout their day may suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Examples of those commonly diagnosed with carpal tunnel include:

  • People who use computers for many hours throughout the day

  • Carpenters

  • Check-out line technicians

  • Assembly-line workers

  • Musicians

  • Auto mechanics

Hobbies such as gardening, needlework, golfing and boating/rowing can sometimes contribute toward the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. 


Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:

  • Numbness or “pins and needles” feeling in the fingers

  • Pain and/or numbness that is worse at night or interrupts sleep

  • Burning or tingling in your thumb, index, and middle fingers, or pain that moves up your arm to your elbow

  • Hand weakness

  • Difficulty gripping objects with the hands or dropping objects

  • Difficulty manipulating small objects

  • Difficulty making a fist

  • Swollen feeling in the fingers

Treatment of Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Simple exercises to loosen the tendons in the hands and wrists
  • Resting the hands and wrist for longer periods throughout the day
  • Non steroidal-anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs may help reduce pain and inflammation
  • Splints :Wearing a resting splint can help prevent the symptoms occurring at night, or a working splint can be useful if your symptoms are brought on by particular activities. Your doctor or physiotherapist can advise on where you can be fitted with a splint.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises

Wrist bend
Wrist lift
Wrist flex
Finger bend
Wrist stretch with weight
Hand squeeze