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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A result of compression of the median nerve in the writs, carpal tunnel syndrome is marked by numbness, tingling and pain in the thumb and fingers.  The carpal tunnel is the narrow gap through which the nerve passes, and is formed by the carpal bones of the wrist and a ligament that lies over them.  It may affect either one or both hands, and the symptoms are sometimes worse at night. 

It can be caused by repetitive and constant hand movements, and is common in those who use computer keyboards a lot.  In middle aged women the condition may occur without any obvious cause.  It is also common in pregnancy, in those who have used oral contraceptives, and those suffering from PMS, and in men and women who suffer from arthritis. 

Treatment is dependent on cause.  It may include wrist splints, anti-inflammatory drugs, or diuretic drugs.  There may be a need to cut the ligament through surgery, in order to relieve pressure on the nerve.  

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