Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a hand and arm condition that causes numbness, tingling, weakness and other problems because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Several tendons and the median nerve run from your forearm to your hand through a small space in your wrist referred to as the Carpal Tunnel. This nerve protects a main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers.
The movement of your first three fingers and your thumb is controlled by the median nerve. Too much pressure on your median nerves causes the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It can be caused by anything that makes the carpal tunnel small, such as pressure from swelling, illness like hypothyroidism, diabetes, etc.
You will experience numbness and a tingling sensation in your fingers or hand, especially your thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger. However, your little finger will experience no such pain whatsoever, because its movement is controlled by some other nerve. Some people may have pain in their arm between their hand and elbow.
You may get such painful sensations while holding a steering wheel, phone or newspaper. Most commonly, this syndrome wakes you up while sleeping. The painful sensation may extend from your wrist up to your arm.
You may also experience weakness in your entire hand, due to which your grip of holding things loosens and you gradually develop a tendency to drop objects.
Compression of the median nerve causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except your little finger.
Anything that irritates, clots or compresses the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A wrist fracture, for instance, can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve. In many cases, no single cause can be identified that may lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
As soon as you begin to experience symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you should treat it as soon as possible. Mild symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be eased by taking frequent breaks and resting your hand. You should avoid activities that worsen the symptoms and apply cold packs for 10 -15 minutes to reduce occasional swelling.
A wrist splint holds your wrist still, while you're sleeping and can help relieve night-time symptoms of numbness, irritation and tingling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) can help relieve pain for a short term. However, there is no evidence that these drugs improve the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Consult a physiotherapist immediately if you experience any symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. He will give you a number of different wrist exercises that will relieve you from pain and keep your carpal tunnel and wrists in good shape.