Define Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition wherein the median nerve is compressed at the wrist causing symptoms like tingling, numbness, night time wakening, pain, coldness, and sometimes weakness in parts of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more often observed in women than it is in men, and it peaks around 50 years of age. The first symptoms of Carpal tunnel syndrome generally appear when trying to sleep. Symptoms range from paresthesias, which is basically a burning, tingling numbness in the fingers, especially of the thumb and index and middle fingers to difficulty gripping and making a fist. Inability to firmly grasp and dropping things is common. If Carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated the symptoms can progress, and increasing pain intensity can further restrict hand functionality. In the early stages of Carpal tunnel syndrome, individuals commonly blame the tingling numbness on their sleeping position, thinking their hands have had restricted circulation and are simply falling asleep.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

It is very important to note that unless numbness is one of the predominant symptoms, it is unlikely to be a symptom that is primarily caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. In effect, pain of any type, location, or severity with the absence of significant numbness, is not very likely to fall under this diagnosis. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also called as a hidden disability because people can do some things with their hands and appear to have normal hand function. However, despite these appearances, those afflicted commonly live with severe restricted hand activity due to the pain.

Anatomy of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel that is a canal in the wrist that is surrounded by bone on three sides, and a fibrous sheath on the other. In addition to the nerve, there are nine tendons of the hand that pass through this canal. The median nerve can also be compressed by swelling of the contents of the canal. Other causes comprises of soft tissue swelling in and around the tunnel or even by direct pressure from part of a broken or dislocated bone. However, the bone dislocations are a rare cause of carpal tunnel syndrome that is a result of severe traumatic events.