Carpal is a medical term that refers to the wrist, syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that together are characteristic or indicative of a specific disease or disorder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is a common condition in which a nerve is squeezed where it passes through the wrist. This nerve called the Median Nerve, controls muscles that move your thumb; it also carries information back to the brain about sensations in your thumb and fingers.
The main symptoms of CTS are tingling, numbness and pain in one or both hands.
These symptoms most often occur in the thumb, the index finger, the middle finger and half of the ring finger. However, the tingling and pain can sometimes extend outside this area.
The symptoms also tend to develop gradually, and usually start off being worse at night or early in the morning.
Any repetitive actions of the hand or wrist can aggravate the symptoms, as can keeping your arm or hand in the same position for a prolonged time.
What can cause CTS
In a lot of cases there isn’t an obvious cause, however , possible causes can include:
- any form of arthritis affecting the wrist
- hormonal changes (as in pregnancy)
- an underactive Thyroid gland
An actual case study of a woman in her 30’s showed the likely cause of CTS in her right hand to be the constant carrying of heavy bags for eg shopping.
In this case, surgery was required which was totally successful leaving a very faint scar (see picture at right).
As can be seen the surgical scar blends well with the normal lines in the palm of the hand.
There is also a possibility of developing CTS if your job places heavy demands on your wrist or from prolonged use of vibrating tools.
What are the treatments For CTS
The treatment is usually dictated by how severe or limiting the subjective factors are upon the median nerve.
It is possible that CTS will settle with conservative treatment, yet some may require surgery where the former approach is unsuccessful.