What is Carpal tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a medical condition in which the median nerve gets compressed at the wrist. This condition is a common cause of numbness and pain in the hand. It affects around 10 percent of the population and is more common in women than in men. It is a painful progressive condition in which the median nerve becomes squeezed at the wrist. There are eight carpal bones in the hand that form the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is surrounded by a rigid ligament that links the bones together. The flexing tendons of the thumb and the fingers and the median nerve pass through the carpal tunnel. The tendons facilitate the movement of the fingers and the thumb. The median nerve transports signals from the brain to control the movements of the hand. It also carries information about temperature, pain and touch to the brain and controls sweating of the hand.
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Caused?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is mainly caused due to increased pressure on the median nerve. There are protective sheaths surrounding the flexing tendons. Repetitive flexing and extension of the wrist may cause thickening of the protective sheaths around the tendons. These swollen sheaths, in turn, apply undue pressure on the median nerve, causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
This swelling of the tendons can occur due to repeated and forceful movements of the wrist during work or leisure activities. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, jobs involving highly repetitive manual acts, stressful wrist postures and wrist bending are a major cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Jobs needing repeated use of small hand tools such as sewing, cutting and small parts assembly lead to this painful condition. Prolonged working on the computer can also cause this disorder. Wrist injuries and different types of arthritis can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. People with Diabetes are prone to this disease. There is also a possible link between this syndrome and hormones. Some women develop this syndrome due to change in certain hormones.
Carpal tunnel Syndrome can be effectively treated. Recurrence of the syndrome after proper treatment is very rare.